Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 12:27 UK

Tyrone people 'not thick at all'

Justice statue
Judge McBride made the remarks at Monaghan District Court

A judge has apologised for describing Tyrone people as "typically thick".

A woman was last week wrongly summonsed to court in County Monaghan in the Republic, but a technicality meant she had to pay to get the case thrown out.

Judge Sean Martin McBride told her she showed "typical thickness from Tyrone people" because she had only sterling to pay 50 euros in bail money.

He now says the "totally inappropriate" remark was made "during a long day's work".

Sarah McGrath, 22, from Donaghmore, had been wrongly summonsed to court because her details matched another woman's.

In a statement on Wednesday, the judge said: "This comment was never meant to be offensive as I have nothing but regard for the people of Tyrone, but clearly to those reading the articles it came across otherwise.

"For this I apologise."

His remarks at last week's sitting of Monaghan District Court in the Republic of Ireland were widely reported and caused offence to some Tyrone people.

Sinn Féin assembly member Barry McElduff said he was proud to be from Tyrone, adding: "I find these remarks hard to believe."

Judge McBride had told Ms McGrath: "You are showing the typical thickness from Tyrone people, I am well used to it through football, growing up in (neighbouring county) Donegal and different things."

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