Friday 23 August 2019

'Criticism of my Twitter is ridiculous' -Taoiseach says opponents are 'terrified' of modern communications

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has launched a blistering defence of his use of social media, saying he has been subjected to some “ridiculous criticism”.

He said the reaction from political opponents to a Twitter picture of the Cabinet subcommittee on security “says a lot about some people's terror and fear of modern media”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had questioned if the Taoiseach had any security advice on whether it was appropriate to publicise the membership of the group.

But in response Mr Varadkar said: “Never have I seen a criticism scrape the bottom of the barrel more so than such nonsensical criticism.”

He noted that the membership of the committee is public knowledge “and certainly not a national security issue”.

“I recall the first meeting of Cabinet Committee F had the RTE cameras in to pan a shot of the people at the table, which garnered no comment whatsoever at the time yet a tweet has garnered so much comment,” he said.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil he is “subjected to plenty of ridiculous criticism but that is the most ridiculous that I have seen”.

“It really does demonstrate the terror some people have of modern communications.  They just do not understand, do not know what it means, cannot cope and even think it is a threat to national security,” he said.

Mr Martin had said that while the meeting in question was focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia it was not a major security problem “but sometimes the national security committee might have to meet because of a terrorist or ISIS threat”.

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin claimed the tweet suggested “the Taoiseach is more Trump than Trudeau”. 

But Mr Varadkar said the Tweet was “perfectly acceptable.

“RTÉ cameras can come in and pan a Cabinet meeting or Cabinet subcommittee meeting and nobody comments, but somebody uses modern technology and it is a threat to national security.”

Mr Varadkar’s social media accounts have garnered even more attention in recent days after he posted a photograph or himself filling the dishwasher in Government Buildings and another standing in front of an alpaca.

Online Editors

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