Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has insisted he does not owe any apology to the LGBT community.
The chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has come in for criticism over a Tweet he sent in 2017 that referenced Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar’s sexuality.
The Tweet read: “Yippee 4 d tory. it’s Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don’t look 4 a pay rise the next morning.”
Yippee 4 d tory. it's Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don't look 4 a pay rise the next morning.
— Brian Stanley (@BrianStanleyTD) June 2, 2017
Speaking at the launch of a PAC report this morning, Deputy Stanley said he has “campaigned in every campaign for gay rights” over the years.
“My record with the LGBT community stands for itself,” he said.
“All of us have family members and relatives and friends who are guy. I have relatives who are gay, I have friends and neighbours who are gay and lesbian and I do not have to apologise to anybody.
“I have worked and, as I have said before, I was out campaigning on those issues when it wasn’t actually as popular as it is now.”
He accused some people in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of taking a “period of time” to come around on issues like gay rights and contraception and
“What I meant in that Tweet was, we were trying to push legislation and measures regarding worker’s rights and minimum wage and living wage and the point I was making was that it is great that we have achieved the rights for gay people and for women and yippee to that,” he said.
“The point I was making was we still had the missing piece as a republican, the missing piece, to try and advance the rights of workers.”
He said the ‘Yippee’ meant that he ‘celebrates the fact we got so far in terms of the rights for gay people.’
If Deputy Stanley really believes someone’s sexuality is linked to their abilities in their workplace...
What is this saying to fellow LGBTQI citizens who face hate speech & discrimination on a daily basis across Europe? https://t.co/pVd3rtgmH9
— Maria Walsh MEP (@MariaWalshEU) December 3, 2020
This morning, Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh questioned why Deputy Stanley “believed it was right to connect the abilities of a party leader, a Fine Gael leadership contest and someone’s sexual orientation together.”
“What relevancy does this have in one’s ability to do a job?”
“If Deputy Stanley really believes someone’s sexuality is linked to their abilities in their workplace, What is this saying to fellow LGBTQI citizens who face hate speech and discrimination on a daily basis across Europe?” she wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy warned that it is never acceptable to link someone’s sexual orientation with public policy.
Deputy Stanley yesterday apologised for the “insensitive nature” of a Tweet he sent in recent days linking the War of Independence with a Provisional IRA attack during the Troubles.
He claimed the 1920 Kilmichael Ambush in County Cork and the 1979 Warrenpoint Ambush in County Down were “two IRA operations that taught the elite of the British Army and establishment the cost of occupying Ireland.”