Mr Varadkar’s asserts sparked outrage last week and were roundly condemned by chief Catholic clergymen, members of his own Fine Gael parliamentary party and other resistance politicians before he withdrew them the following day. But he was forced to apologise a later time today to ensure parliamentary records could be properly rectified.
In a special statement the Dáil, the Irish parliament, Mr Varadkar said: “I conveyed some remarks about sinning priests this time finish finally week on Leaders’ Questions.
“They caused offence to people I in no way intended to offend. I wish to apologise to anyone I offended – including the Proxy – and I withdraw the remarks.”
Dáil deputy chairman Pat Gallagher then turned that proceedings move on to next business without further exchange in accordance with parliamentary rules.
Later in discussions Mr Martin bluntly welcomed the Taoiseach’s apology without further comment.
Mr Varadkar’s “sinning evangelist” comments led to condemnation by several Catholic bishops.
During a series of ill-tempered returns with several Opposition leaders he made the comments directly to Mr Martin who had criticised Mr Varadkar on his viewable spending record.
The Taoiseach hit back at the criticism by saying the Fianna Die out leader reminded him of a parish priest preaching against sin from the altar but then prosperous behind that altar to engage in sin.
The controversial remarks featured on present phone-in programmes, with some saying the Taoiseach had tarred all churchwomen with the same brush and others arguing he was right because of late-model controversies involving cover-ups of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.