Sunday 24 September 2017

Fine Gael fury over councillor's attack on Islam and refugees

Councillor Brian Murphy
Councillor Brian Murphy
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has criticised controversial social media posts on Islam and refugees by a Fine Gael councillor, saying they don't represent the views or values of the party.

Dublin-based councillor Brian Murphy has landed himself in hot water with party chiefs after a string of incendiary remarks on Twitter in recent days.

He claimed that Sharia law was operating in Ireland, criticised the Irish Navy's mission in the Mediterranean and argued that European politicians were "too weak" to protect the EU's borders.

Mr Murphy's party colleagues have distanced themselves from his posts.

Dublin-Rathdown TD Josepha Madigan rejected Mr Murphy's comments, saying Fine Gael was a "party of opportunity for all, regardless of race, gender or religion".

Senator Neale Richmond said on Twitter: "I wholly disagree with repeated comments made by Cllr Brian Murphy."

Mr Varadkar didn't say whether Mr Murphy would be expelled from the party, but he indicated that Fine Gael's national executive would take action.

"I want to disassociate myself and the party from those messages. They do not represent the policies, views or values of the Fine Gael party.

"The party at executive council level will take any necessary action that needs to be taken and he [Mr Murphy] will be informed of that in due course," Mr Varadkar added.

Mr Murphy's Twitter posts have come under close scrutiny in recent days.

"The Irish military should not be being forced to act as a ferry service for smugglers and illegal economic migrants in the Mediterranean," he wrote on September 1.

Another post as part of a series of tweets on September 5 read: "Sharia Law is operating in Ireland and most of the political class either do not know or do not care. It is a subversion of our legal system."

Fine Gael was quick to criticise the posts. A spokesperson said they were "unacceptable".

But Mr Murphy was defiant after his party's initial rebuke. On Wednesday night, he said: "Everything I have said is true."

He added: "Fine Gael is the political party I love and it is the greatest political party, but we are a broad church and I do not want this country creating parallel societies within our society, as has happened in Europe."

He argued that "Islam does not integrate", adding that "billions" was being spent "monitoring an ever-increasing number of jihadis in every European country".

Mr Murphy did not respond to attempts to contact him last night for comment on Mr Varadkar's remarks and other criticisms.

Dublin-based Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, dismissed Mr Murphy's claims that Sharia law was operating in parts of Ireland.

He said: "I am very vocal against radicalisation and extremism in society, so if there was any such Sharia law, I would be the first to speak out against it and raise the alarm."

He was "shocked" that the remarks were made by a Fine Gael councillor.

Irish Independent

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