The former Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre has said he will respond to allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour that have been made against him.

A number of women have been speaking out about alleged incidents involving Michael Colgan, who was a hugely influential figure in theatre and the arts in Ireland.

Mr Colgan told RTÉ News that he will be issuing a statement in response to the allegations.

Artist, director and activist Grace Dyas alleged that Mr Colgan made inappropriate comments to her in a pub following the launch of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Ms Dyas said that while at a bar Mr Colgan told her "You’ve lost so much weight, I’d almost have sex with you."

Ms Dyas said that Mr Colgan became very upset and angry with her after she told him that he could not say such things to her.

She added: "He said that 'it was only a joke.' A friend of mine said: 'So you're admitting that you said that to her?'.

"He said yeah but it was just a joke. Then he backtracked and said I was a liar, then he stood up and started calling me a pig in front of everyone that I work with."

Annette Clancy has also alleged that Mr Colgan made inappropriate comments to her during a job interview for a position at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1993. Mr Colgan was on the interview board at the time.

Ms Clancy said: "In my spare time, I obtained a professional qualification as a massage therapist. So when it came to Michael Colgan’s turn to ask me questions, he pointed to the qualification on the CV, he looked at me over the top of his glasses and said: ‘Well I wish you would give me a massage someday.’"

The Arts Council has said that all organisations it funds must uphold the law.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride said that she was shocked when she read a report in The Irish Times about allegations against Mr Colgan.

Ms McBride said: "From the Arts Council perspective, we need to ensure that all employees feel safe and protected in their workplace.

"There is really, really strong legislation and a condition of all of our funding is that organisations comply with the legislation under the Employment Equality Act, which includes sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace."

When contacted by RTÉ News, Mr Colgan said that he will be issuing a statement in response to the allegations. However, he did not say when he would do this.

Last week, the Gate Theatre said that any person who has been in their employment, or contracted by them who wish to speak to them about any concerns they have in relation to sexual harassment and abuse of power, can contact them.

It can be contacted on confidential@gate-theatre.ie.

The Gate Theatre has appointed an independent professional HR advisor to handle any issues raised.