House of Lords Member Criticized After Referring to Irish PM as ‘Typical Indian’
Lord John Kilclooney took to the social media after Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's visit to Northern Ireland.
Former Ulster Unionist Party MP John Taylor — now Lord John Kilclooney — is facing flak for calling Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar a “typical Indian” on the social media. Lord Kilclooney’s comments, labelled as racist by many, came after Varadkar’s visit to Northern Ireland.
Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson criticized Varadkar following the visit, saying the Taoiseach showed “poor manners” by not informing a local representative about his visit to counties Armagh and Down on April 29. It was “outside of normal protocol,” Donaldson said, BBC reported.
Lord Kilclooney commented on Twitter in response to this report.
— Lord John Kilclooney (@KilclooneyJohn) April 30, 2018
His comment was dubbed as “racist” or even “shameful” on Twitter.
This really is an appalling comment John. Shameful
— Jamie Kennedy (@JkUmisma) April 30, 2018
Former Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt, in response to Lord Kilclooney’s comments, said that he could only interpret it as a “racist comment.”
While I engage positively in a SDLP event remembering John Hume, Lord Kilclooney refers to the Taoiseach in what I can only interpret as a racist comment, tweeting "typical Indian" #NotInMyName
— Mike Nesbitt (@mikenesbittni) April 30, 2018
Lord Kilclooney, however, tried to defend his comment on the social media.
“I have great admiration for Indian people and am active member of British/Indian All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). I help Indians very often. Indeed today I had a letter from 10 Downing St to acknowledge my representations to have visa restrictions on Indians relaxed,” the House of Lords member tweeted.
In another tweet, Lord Kilclooney tried to justify why his comment was not racially abusive. “It is not racially abusive as he himself has confirmed he is half Indian. That is great and not to be dismissed as the Indians are a great race. However, he has damaged North/South relations by being continually offensive and provocative to the Unionist majority in Northern Ireland,” he posted on the social media.
Following the criticism, Lord Kilclooney told the BBC that he did not intend to withdraw the tweet. He added that Varadkar had been “most provocative” regarding the negotiations for Brexit, and that he had “misunderstood the views of many unionists,” the report said. Varadkar had a “dismal lack of knowledge” about the happenings in Northern Ireland, Lord Kilclooney told the publication.
Varadkar, who was born in Ireland to an Indian father and Irish mother, defended his trip, saying that he had informed the Northern Ireland Office about it. “I really just wanted to do something different. I can assure anyone that I am not an invader, I just want to be a good neighbor,” he said, adding that he received a very warm welcome in Northern Ireland, according to the report.
Lord Kilclooney had also become a talking point in November 2017, when he took to Twitter, calling Varadkar “the Indian,” as he commented on a political story that involved Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. “Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian,” Lord Kilclooney had then said on the social media. He later withdrew his comment, saying that he accepts that “Varadkar is 100 percent Irish citizen.”