Monday 23 April 2018

'It was just a bit of fun' - Fianna Fail TD defends linking Fine Gael to fascist blueshirts

Deputy Darragh O'Brien
Deputy Darragh O'Brien
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A senior Fianna Fail TD has said a Twitter post linking Fine Gael to the Blueshirts fascist group was a “small history lesson” for younger members of the party.

Late last night, Fianna Fail’s foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O’Brien posted images of the Blueshirt organisation making Nazi salutes with the caption ‘Happy Birthday Fine Gael’.

Mr O’Brien’s post at 10.05pm drew ire from some Fine Gael politicians who questioned the appropriateness and timing of the tweet. The Fianna Fail TD subsequently removed the post.

Speaking to Independent.ie Mr O’Brien said the tweet was “just a bit of fun”.

“I was just giving a small history lesson to some of the young members of the party,” he said.

“It was hilarious, they seemed to get awful upset,” he added.

The Army Comrades Association, which later became known as the Blueshirts due to the colour of their uniform, was established in 1933 to protect members of Cumann na nGaedheal from IRA attacks.

The Blueshirts, who were led by former Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy, adopted the salute and ideologies of fascist organisations in Europe at the time.

Mr O’Duffy would later become the president of a the newly formed Fine Gael when Cumann na nGaedheal, the Centre Party and the Blueshirt movement merged in 1933.

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