Harrington apologises “unreservedly for any upset caused” by campaign but criticises “defamatory” accusations

The welfare and equality candidate called EmpowerTheVoice’s accusations against him as “disgusting and defamatory”

Welfare and equality candidate Nathan Harrington has apologised “unreservedly” for “any upset” caused by his campaign after he was accused of “using his platform to mock marginalised groups”, which he described as “defamatory”.

Activist group EmpowerTheVoice wrote a message on the blackboard of the Thomas Davis lecture hall before media hustings took place, accusing him of offending people during his campaign.

The message also referenced “(per/ve)”, the pronouns that Harrington has listed on his personal Instagram account, and “disableds”, a term he used in the original version of his campaign manifesto.

In a statement to Trinity News, Harrington said: “I’d like to apologise unreservedly for any upset I’ve caused and I would like to make it very clear that my campaign is not one of hatred”.

“I really do just want to hand out chocolates on campus”, he added.

“I think that writing such disgusting and defamatory things about me hoping to catch me by surprise and upset me at the hustings was a terribly low blow and totally uncalled for”, he continued.

“I am not a homophobe, nor am I an ableist, marginalised-group basher”, he said. “My campaign team and my friends outside of [Trinity] include many members of various marginalised groups who have expressed shock and disgust at this stunt.”

Harrington further claimed that “members of university press and contributors have been sending [him] abusive Instagram DMs while writing articles about my campaign”.

He continued by stating: “I accept that despite the preferences of some members of my campaign team and students I spoke with I was wrong to use the term “disableds”, which is why I changed it in my manifesto more than a day before this stunt.”

Harrington concluded his statement by saying: “I’m devastated about this but I can’t and won’t let this take away from my campaign of love and inclusivity, which will continue onward.”

Harrington did not attend media hustings this afternoon.