Thursday, 3 May 2018

British peer calls Irish PM Leo Varadkar a 'typical Indian' in 'racist' tweet

'It is deliberate, calculated disrespect,' says Alliance Party leader Naomi Long

A former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) has been criticised for calling Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, a “typical Indian”.

Lord John Kilclooney posted the comment on Twitter in response to a news story in which the Taoiseach was criticised for having “poor manners” on a visit to Northern Ireland.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long immediately took to the social media site to criticise the Lord Kilcooney's comments.

Calling it a "racist slur", she said it was "insulting of not only the Taoiseach and the Irish people, but of Indian people too."

Lord John Kilclooney posted the comment on Twitter in response to a news story in which the Taoiseach was criticised for having 'poor manners' on a visit to Northern Ireland (file photo) AFP/Getty Images
She added the House of Lords needed "to address his conduct: it is deliberate, calculated disrespect”.

Mr Varadkar was born in Ireland to an Irish mother and an Indian father.

Following criticism from social media users for his comment, the lifelong peer said he had “great admiration for Indian people”, adding: “I help Indians very often.”

He later insisted there was “Nothing racist about it”, saying the remark was “simply factual”

Lord Kilclooney told critics: “You still do not understand the difference between nationality and race. Varadkar is a full Irish citizen and proud of it. He is also racially a half Indian and proud of it!”

It is the second time the peer has been accused of racially abusing the Irish prime minister. Last November referred to him as “the Indian”.

He admitted the remark had caused “upset and misunderstanding” and withdrew it.  A complaint to the House of Lords standards commissioner was dismissed.

UUP leader Robin Swann said Lord Kilclooney’s “excuse the last time was due to a restricted number of characters and being unable to spell a name – this time there is NO excuse”.

He later added: “He doesn’t speak for me”.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, also criticised the post and pointed out that the veteran unionist peer has previously been accused of racism after tweeting about about cricketer Moeen Ali playing in an Ashes test for the England cricket team.

“Times have changed! The England team now needs non English people in order to win Test Games!” Lord Kilcooney wrote last year.

When one social media user said Mr Ali was born and raised in England, the former Ulster Unionist deputy leader responded: “Moeen Ali is proud to be British but racially he is not English. There is a difference between being English and being British!!”

Broadcaster Piers Morgan responded by saying: “Oh shut up you racist old dinosaur. Moeen Ali’s more English than I am, and I was born in Guildford.”

On Lord Kilcooney's latest tweet, Mr Versi said said: “Appalling racism is not new from Kilclooney. Let’s not forget his disgusting treatment of Moeen Ali. There needs to be basic standards in the House of Lords.”

(Source: Independent)

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