(Bloomberg) -- A former running mate of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar apologized for describing him as autistic while trying to explain his difficulty connecting with voters.
Senator Catherine Noone, who is running as a general election candidate for Varadkar’s Fine Gael party, also described him “uncomfortable socially” in an interview with the Irish edition of the Times newspaper. Noone is standing in north Dublin, having previously shared a ticket with Varadkar in the west of the city.
“I unequivocally apologize and withdraw all of my remarks, which were completely unacceptable,” Noone said in a statement on Tuesday. “My choice of language was inexcusable and wrong. I am truly sorry.”
The episode again shines a light on Varadkar’s leadership, as he faces losing power in the Feb. 8 ballot after less than three years as the nation’s premier. In a poll of polls tracked by Cantor Fitzgerald, Fine Gael is trailing the biggest opposition party, Fianna Fail, by 6 percentage points.
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