Varadkar hits out at Sinn Féin’s handling of ‘racist and homophobic’ remarks

Varadkar Hits Out At Sinn Féin’s Handling Of ‘Racist And Homophobic’ Remarks
The Tánaiste said he was disappointed at how Mary Lou McDonald had attempted to 'down' play controversial tweets.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has hit out at Sinn Féin’s handling of “racist and homophobic” remarks made by its members.

The Irish Times reports that Mr Varadkar has alleged the party sees "gay or mixed race" people and young women as “fair game” for criticism, provided they are not its own members.

Speaking during an interview on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the Fine Gael leader said he was disappointed at how Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had attempted to downplay controversy surrounding a number of tweets.

A tweet by Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley from 2017, referring to Mr Varadkar, has been described as having homophobic overtones. However, this allegation has been denied by the party.

If you’re an opponent of Sinn Féin, and you’re gay or mixed race or you’re a young woman, that’s fair game


“In the way they’re dealing with this, they do send out a message that if you’re a Sinn Féin supporter and you’re gay, or you’re a young woman, or you’re mixed race, you’ll be celebrated,” Mr Varadkar said.

“But if you’re an opponent of Sinn Féin, and you’re gay or mixed race or you’re a young woman, that’s fair game. And you see that in the way they conduct themselves, and I have a problem with that.”

Mr Varadkar said he understood “the world we live in” but said Ms McDonald “has kind of tried to explain all this stuff away” and sent out “the wrong message”.

“People can say things from time to time that are homophobic, or racist, or misogynistic. It doesn’t mean that they in themselves are necessarily homophobic, or racist, or misogynistic."


“What does matter is how they respond to it, and if it is pointed out to them, how do they engage. And that is why I was very disappointed by the response from Sinn Féin," Mr Varadkar added.

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"This isn't the first time it has happened, by the way, you know one of the councillors during the election made blatant remarks about me that were both racist and homophobic, nothing was done."

Sinn Féin has been asked for a comment on Mr Varadkar’s interview. Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty earlier defended Mr Stanley, who he said would “clarify his position” in an address to the Dáil next Tuesday.

Last week, Christine O’Mahony resigned as chair of Ógra Sinn Féin UCD and its Meath branch after her criticism of Mr Stanley’s tweet led to a visit to her house by a local party member and neighbour.

Mr Stanley has also deleted and apologised for a controversial tweet which referred to incidents from the War of Independence and the Troubles.

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