House of Lords Member Withdraws ‘Racist’ Comment on Irish PM
Leo Varadkar is 100 percent Irish Citizen, Lord Kilclooney later said.
A member of the House of Lords was criticized for referring to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar as “the Indian.” Former Ulster Unionist Party MP John Taylor — now Lord Kilclooney — made the comment while tweeting about Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.
Kilclooney said: “Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non-statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian.” Varadkar was born to an Irish mother, Miriam Varadkar, and Indian father, Ashok Varadkar, in Ireland. His father is a doctor, who came to England from Mumbai.
Varadkar was also the first half-Indian ethnic, gay prime minister to be elected in Ireland when he won the Fine Gael — the leading party in Ireland – elections, defeating Coveney. However, Ireland could be headed to general elections in the coming few months due to a controversy around Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
Kilclooney was criticized by other politicians for his remark against Taoiseach Varadkar. The former UUP politician said, “I should have said PM and not used Indian as shorthand for his name which I must learn to spell correctly. The new Irish PM is 100 per cent Irish and has an Indian name which I am still trying to spell! Term Indian used for shorthand as I am certainly no racist as my past confirms.”
Later, he tweeted saying, “In Twitter one is restricted to a limited number of words and so for shorthand I used the term Indian for the new PM in Dublin. This has caused upset and misunderstanding and so I withdraw it. I am no way racist and accept that Varadkar is 100 percent Irish Citizen.”
His former colleague, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, tweeted: “Lord Kilclooney does not speak for me. I think calling an Taoiseach ‘the Indian’ is appalling. If he was still a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and I was still Leader, it wouldn’t end well. But for me, it didn’t anyway.”
Lord Kilclooney does not speak for me. I think calling an Taoiseach “the Indian” is appalling. If he was still a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and I was still Leader, it wouldn’t end well. But for me, it didn’t anyway 😱
— Mike Nesbitt (@mikenesbittni) November 23, 2017
Another member of the UUP, Robin Swann, said that Taylor is not a member of the party “and hasn’t been for sometime […] sits as a Cross Bencher & speaks for himself”. While Senator Catherine Noone, member of Fine Gael, said, “Disgraceful comment John. Leo is 100% Irish as you well know. The mind boggles.”