Irish MP Patrick Nulty quits over 'inappropriate' Facebook messages
An Irish parliamentarian has resigned after admitting he sent inappropriate messages to a teenage girl on Facebook.
Independent MP Patrick Nulty said he had been "under the influence of alcohol" when he sent messages to a 17-year-old.
His shock resignation came hours before Irish tabloid the Sunday World was due to print the story.
The paper said it could prove Mr Nulty sent the messages from Leinster House, home to the Irish parliament.
In a statement, Mr Nulty said: "I sent inappropriate messages via Facebook.
"This included inadvertently sending one to a 17-year-old woman. To the best of my knowledge I have never met this woman and the message was sent while under the influence of alcohol."
The Sunday World newspaper claims Mr Nulty, 31, asked a schoolgirl in a late night message on the social networking site: "Have you ever been spanked?"
It is also alleged that a woman was asked to send underwear in the post, and another told to wear a skirt when visiting a constituency clinic.
The former Labour Party TD, who left the junior coalition partner last June in a row over its political direction, apologised "wholeheartedly" to the girl and her family.
He said it was never his intention to upset anyone and that his actions were "totally wrong".
The newspaper said it had "geo-tagging" evidence claiming that the messages were sent from within Leinster House in Dublin.
In his statement, Mr Nulty said he took full responsibility for his actions.
"I set myself the highest standards personally and politically," he said.
"Unfortunately due to personal mistakes I have not met those standards in this matter and I will take responsibility for that."
The TD thanked his family, friends and supporters. "In politics people very often do not take responsibility for their actions," he said.
"I hope I am doing that. I would further like to apologise to my constituents in Dublin West for my mistake.
"I hope they will understand my reasons for resigning and accept my apology.
"I hope that as I have taken decisive and direct action on this matter my privacy will now be respected in what has been a very difficult decision for me personally."
Mr Nulty was elected to the Dail - the lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish Republic's houses of parliament - in 2011.
He was elected under a Labour Party ticket, taking the late former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's seat.