Leo Varadkar just leapt to the defence of white, middle class men slap-bang in the middle of a global civil rights movement
Ireland’s Leo Varadkar is being widely criticised after he jumped to the defence of white, middle class men.
The gay former Taoiseach, who currently serves as Tánaiste (deputy leader) in Ireland’s government, defended middle-class white men following a row between Fine Gael senator Barry Ward and Sinn Féin senator Lynn Boylan.
While debating legislation, Boylan told Ward that he, as a white, middle-class man, is not treated the same under the law as Travellers, members of the Roma community, and other minority groups.
Ward insisted that he knows “very well” what life is like for marginalised communities, and later hit out at Boylan in a tweet.
“I’m disappointed by the attitude from Sinn Féin that a ‘white, middle class man’, even one who has spend [sic] his professional life defending accused persons, couldn’t possibly understand what it is like for some people to go before the courts,” Ward tweeted on 2 August.
A full 10 days later, after 10.30pm last night (12 August), Varadkar shared Ward’s tweet and wrote: “If you are white, male or even worse middle-class, Sinn Féin doesn’t want you. So much for an ‘Ireland of equals’.”
Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has been widely criticised for defending white, middle class men.
The Tánaiste has been widely mocked and criticised for the tweet.
First Sinn Fein came for the white, middle class men and I said nothing because they were actually making an unremarkable point about differing access to legislative knowledge among less privileged communities, and I am not a massive, crying, Tory dork. https://t.co/m4Q45F2IRA
— Séamas It Ever Was (@shockproofbeats) August 12, 2020
Leo are you absolutely locked? I’m scarlet for your existence rn x https://t.co/OPPFkQdEZa
— James Kavanagh (@JamesKavanagh_) August 12, 2020
He was criticised by Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon for playing into “class based politics”.
Here’s “straight talking Leo” again.. The Irish Times will be fawning..
We’ve seen the class based politics before, but this new version comes equipped with an added “white lived matter” add on. 🔥
Brave new politics. 6 page spread in every major Sunday newspaper. 👞 https://t.co/IJ1hobyJYy
— Gary Gannon TD (@1GaryGannon) August 12, 2020
Others took the opportunity to hit out at Varadkar’s voting record, as well as his party’s approach to social issues.
You, a gay man, opposed adoption by gay couples to further your political career. So much for an 'Ireland of equals'. https://t.co/TpziySh6QO
— 👻 (@suedepyjamas) August 12, 2020
If you are a worker, renter or even worse on social welfare, Fine Gael doesn't want you. So much for an 'Ireland of equals' https://t.co/CnIShUgKhm
— Sean (@Sean_OConghaile) August 12, 2020
Varadkar was also accused of utilising “alt-right” and “far-right” rhetoric in his tweet.
alt-right identity-politics rhetoric from the supposed champion of progressive liberalism in Ireland. https://t.co/WfD59ifVSp
— Eoin Daly (@eoinmauricedaly) August 12, 2020
Quoting a tweet from ten days ago and tweeting something that someone from the Far Right would say. Someone take the phone off the Tanaiste! https://t.co/tnmvzSUGJH
— Adam Kennefick BLM (@LeonPaul95) August 12, 2020
Others criticised the Tánaiste for jumping to the defence of white people when Ireland has finally begun to confront and discuss systemic racism.
Can you please go back to throwing darts at a board w/“working class” written on it or whatever you do fun in the evenings instead of tweeting muck like this (this is so horrid. In a year where we’re finally talking bout racism in Ireland n so many are struggling financially…) https://t.co/QxXJah9A6D
— Conor Behan (@platinumjones) August 13, 2020
Some took the opportunity to draw attention to Ireland’s homelessness crisis, as well as its much-maligned system for asylum seekers known as direct provision.
don’t come calling for an “ireland of equals” if ur happy to leave 10,000 irish citizens on the streets and another 7,000 people living in the hell that is direct provision https://t.co/2e8ZqMx5ba
— the ghost of a tooth (@coolsexyfarmer) August 12, 2020
Wait till this guy finds out how an “Ireland of equals” treats people in Direct Provision, homeless people, poor people etc https://t.co/Xclwvvwye7
— Kirsty Connell (@kirstyyconnell) August 12, 2020
Yep, that's our Leo, always sticking up for the middle class as he steps over the swathes of homeless and poor people he's responsible for in his fancy Italian leather shoes https://t.co/o6JvUPYGKx
— dumb (@_un_emo) August 12, 2020
The Tánaiste was also accused of borrowing from the Donald Trump Twitter playbook. Elsewhere, others accused Varadkar of borrowing from the Donald Trump playbook.
Varadkar gets more openly like Trump by the day https://t.co/VRElT5S0hI
— Clare O Connor (@ClareOC_) August 12, 2020
Others just asked Varadkar to listen to what oppressed minority groups have to say.
If you're a white, male or even worse, middle class, you should definitely be listening when people say you don't know what it's like to be them.
Acknowledge your privilege, don't be enraged by your ego. https://t.co/fOhnDdhw3r
— Timi Ogunyemi 🇮🇪 🇳🇬 (@tweetymonkey) August 12, 2020