A former Justice Minister for the Republic of Ireland has clarified his comments about Border people having violence in their blood after much criticism.

Alan Dukes, who is a former leader of Fine Gael served Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) chairman following the collapse of the Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

He said: "I shouldn't have said it in the way that I said.”

"What I meant to convey was that the protests that were there and the emotion that was there, were seized upon by people who are violent and who carried out acts of sabotage and despicable personal violence against people. And I deplore that."

Mr. Dukes caused great upset and anger in the final episode of the RTE and Fine Point Films documentary ‘Quinn Country’ broadcast on Wednesday evening. The three-part documentary focusing on the rise and fall of Seán Quinn was written and directed by former Impartial Reporter journalist and Enniskillen native Trevor Birney.

During the documentary, Mr. Dukes said: “Border people have it in their blood. They are living in communities that have violence of different kinds. They’ll more easily turn to it.

He continued: “I’m not saying they’re different animals from the rest of us but whether they have provo links or B Special links.

“It’s something that’s nearer to the way they think than it would be to someone in south Tipperary or anywhere like that, you know.”

Mr. Dukes defended his comments but did not apologise on RTÉ Radio 1’s Claire Bryne show on Thursday morning. Questioning Mr. Dukes, the presenter said: “People are really upset by those comments.”

Explaining his comments, Mr. Dukes and said:“I am not saying by any means that the people in Border counties are violent people. I am conscious of the fact that they have suffered from violence more than most other parts of the country," he told RTÉ Radio 1.

"I feel that if people have been offended by that, I just ask them to accept my statements that I don’t for a moment believe that people in the Border areas are violent people," he said.

“The reason for the upset and opposition was entirely misdirected, it was directed against people who were trying to save companies that otherwise would have gone to the wall.”

When Claire Bryne challenged Mr. Dukes on the comments which had “deeply offended” people. Duke replied: “There are people deeply offended by the violence that happened, and could have been deeply affected in their livelihoods by that violence and that’s what I was reacting to.”

Justifying his comments, he said: “It is part of the atmosphere that they live in. Violence happens more in that area, and it has for years than in other parts of the country.

“I do not for a moment say that all Border area people are violent people, far from it. They suffer from it more than people in other parts of the country.”

Challenging Mr. Dukes in relation to the violence in the area, Ms Bryne referred to the attack and abduction of Mannok director Kevin Lunney in 2019. Ms Bryne said: “The people convicted of the violence that you speak, were not from there, they were from Dublin.”

Mr. Dukes replied: “Some people have been held to account there and in that particular case you refer to, I don’t think we have found the origin for that action.

"There are many other incidents of violence that happened there where nobody has been held to account and I have no doubt that there are people in that area who have some idea of who was responsible and for various reasons sometimes through fear and other reasons won’t say anything about it.”