Former artistic director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan has said the realisation he had caused upset to some former co-workers was deeply distressing and said that he sincerely apologises.

He said his behaviour should not be equated with sexual crimes.

Writing in today's Sunday Independent newspaper, Mr Colgan said he was truly sorry for causing distress to some of those with whom he worked.

Mr Colgan said his behaviour should not be equated with sexual crimes and that it was wrong that he had been the subject of insinuations that he was guilty of more than misjudged behaviour.

Playwright and director Grace Dyas, who was the first person to speak out about Mr Colgan's behaviour has said she does not believe it was fair that he was given a platform to write an unquestioned apology in a national newspaper.

She said she hoped the apology was sincere.

Ms Dyas said Colgan should now comply with whatever process is set up independently by the Gate board. 

A number of women have come forward and made allegations of harassment and abuse of power relating to the former artistic director of the Gate Theatre.

Mr Colgan said that when he left the Gate he was convinced he had been a good boss and had been liked by the staff.

He said that recent revelations made it clear that this cannot have been the case and that there had been moments where, through misjudged behaviour, he had caused upset to some co-workers.

He said he already knew he had sacrificed proper conduct for a punchline and could be, at times, too exacting as a boss, but that realising he had been responsible for causing distress to some of those with whom he worked had shocked him, and said he is truly sorry.

He also said the lines between colleagues and friends had become blurred.

He said his behaviour should not be equated with sexual crimes and that he takes serious issue with much of the recent press and social media references to him.

He said he had been the subject of gross insinuations and that his family had suffered totally false allegations that he might have been guilty of more than misjudged behaviour.

Mr Colgan also said he wanted to apologise to any person in or out of the office that he might have hurt, and for any stress cause to the current board and management of the Gate Theatre.

Director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride has said she does not doubt the bona fides and the sincerity of Mr Colgan's apology.

She said the matter was no longer about him anymore but about the women who have come forward.

Ms McBride said there is an independent investigation in place, and that process needs to begin so that those women are heard.

She said: "I note Michael Colgan's apology in the Sunday Independent today. I think it is helpful in one way but yet in another way, it doesn't reassure those seven women that came forward last week in relation to the complaints that they made."

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, in partnership with the Arts Council, is commencing an industry-wide consultation with all the companies that signed the initial statement calling out harassment in the theatre sector.

"We are starting a consultation process to look at ways the sector can be supported to ensure that complaints like this never happen again," Ms McBride said, "so that people are empowered to come forward and have their voices heard."