Patrick Nulty

In Irish politician has resigned after admitting sending "inappropriate messages" to women via Facebook, including a 17-year-old.

Patrick Nulty announced on Saturday he was standing down as an independent Teachta Dála, a member of the Irish Parliament, just hours before the Irish newspaper The Sunday World published the story.

He admitted sending messages to women about spanking "while under the influence of alcohol". The newspaper report claimed it had used tracking software that had shown that the messages were sent from inside Leinster House, the Irish Parliament building - suggesting Nulty had been under the influence of alcohol while in the House and performing parliamentary duties.

"I sent inappropriate messages via Facebook," Nulty, a member for Dublin West, said in a statement.

"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 former Labour Party TD, who was elected in 2011, said that he apologised "wholeheartedly" to the girl and her family.

"It was never my intention to upset anyone in this way but it was totally wrong," he said.

The Sunday World newspaper story claimed the 31-year-old asked a schoolgirl in a late night message: "Have you ever been spanked?"

The paper also alleged a woman was asked to send him her underwear in the post, while another was urged to wear a skirt on a visit to a constituency clinic.

He admitted the message was inappropriate and said that while other politicians "often didn't take responsibility for their actions", he was prepared to and would step down.

"I set myself the highest standards personally and politically. Unfortunately due to personal mistakes I have not met those standards in this matter and I will take responsibility for that.

"In politics people very often do not take responsibility for their actions. 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."