A manager of a renewable energy firm has quit after making derogatory remarks about gay men, lesbians and "spastics".

ABO Wind UK boss Matt Braund tendered his resignation last week following an outcry over comments about the late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately and disabled people.

Ultimately owned by a German green energy company, ABO Wind UK is developing plans for new wind farm developments north of the border.

A project in Sutherland has already been completed and the company also has plans for a controversial 25-turbine development in the Kilmorack Community Council area.

ABO claimed it was spearheading a £390 million investment programme in the Highlands and SNP Energy Minister Fergus Ewing opened the firm's Inverness office last year.

However, the company was put on the defensive recently after Braund's comments on Facebook appeared.

Braund, the company's project development manager, wrote in 2010: "Reckons Steven [sic] Gately had it coming!"

Gately, a gay icon, died at the age of 33 during the previous year.

Days later, Braund wrote: "Is it me or is Sheryl [sic] Cole just a stupid geordie spastic?"

He also posted: "I suppose i should be shouting my support for the homsexual [sic], retarded "sportsmen" that are just about to represent our country abroad."

Last September, months after Ewing opened ABO Wind's office, he wrote: "Just seen a couple of island lesbians ... women of that certain disposition should understand that if you hate men so much, you should stop trying to look like them!"

In a statement to the Sunday Herald last week, Braund confirmed he had quit: "My resignation is in part due to the adverse effect my private comments have had on the one of our projects within the Highlands.

"In no way do the remarks made reflect my true feelings. I have always prided myself on being a person who accepts anyone, no matter what creed, background, lifestyle, gender or ability. I have been proud to support and encourage people to grow as professionals within ABO and our industry and I wish every success to ABO in the future."

A spokesman for ABO Wind said: "ABO Wind was very surprised and disappointed to learn that one of our employees had made such unacceptable comments on Facebook. We expect our employees to treat all members of the community with respect and tolerance.

"We cannot condone the comments made by Matt Braund. We believe that members of the LGBT community deserve the same respect as the rest of the community. The same also applies to members of the disabled community."

"After reviewing the matter with Matt Braund he has decided to resign his position. We respect his decision to stand down and believe this to be in the best interests of all parties."