Fine Gael councillor defends tweet where he expressed 'love' for Nazi-style salute picture

Fine Gael Cllr Jim O'Leary

Ellen Coyne

A Fine Gael councillor has defended a late night tweet where he expressed his “love” for a picture of Blueshirts performing a Nazi-style salute.

Jim O’Leary, the Fine Gael councillor for Dundrum, sent the tweet at 01.18am on Tuesday night.

He was responding to a social media user who was commenting on Mr O’Leary’s fellow party councillor’s calls for Black Lives Matter protesters to lose their €350 Covid-19 payments.

The social media user posted a picture of the Blueshirts, the organisation founded in the 1930s which later became Fine Gael, performing a Nazi-style salute. The social media user said: “These Fine Gael boys never steer from their past, you have to give them that!”

In response, Mr O’Leary tweeted: “I love that picture of the men that saved free speech for us all from FF & IRA thugs. It’s one of my favourites. Thanks.”

Asked to clarify his remarks by, the councillor responded by defending them.

“My admiration is for those that secured free speech in Ireland and prevented no platforming 1930s style by protecting Cumann na Gael and Centre Party and then Fine Gael Party meetings from attacks by FF and IRA members/supporters,” he said.

The Fine Gael press office did not respond to requests for comment.