Saturday 19 October 2019

I'm no racist, insists ex-Ulster Unionist deputy amid row over 'typical Indian' Varadkar comment

Lord Kilclooney is photographed in the Houses of Parliament in London.
Lord Kilclooney is photographed in the Houses of Parliament in London. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Ulster Unionist deputy leader Lord Kilclooney has denied being racist after calling the Taoiseach a "typical Indian".

The peer, who is no longer a member of the UUP, said he is "certainly no racist" after his remark about Leo Varadkar was met with condemnation.

Mr Varadkar was born in Ireland. His father is from India and mother from Ireland.

Lord Kilclooney, 80, stirred controversy in a tweet on Monday as he commented on a news story about DUP criticism of Mr Varadkar regarding his visit to Northern Ireland.

He replied to the tweet, writing: "Typical Indian."

Lord Kilclooney.jpg

The tweet was met with condemnation on social media.

Lord Kilclooney later tweeted: "I am certainly no racist and in particular have an admiration for Indians. A member of the British/Indian APPG, only yesterday I had a reply from 10 Downing St asking for a relaxation of visas for Indians. My point was that the PM had upset Unionists more than Irish PMs had!"

In November last year, Lord Kilclooney, 79, stirred controversy in a tweet by referring to Mr Varadkar as "the Indian", while commenting on a political story involving Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney

He wrote on twitter: "Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian."

Lord Kilclooney later tweeted: "In Twitter one is restricted to a limited number of words and so for shorthand I used the term Indian for the new PM in Dublin.

"This has caused upset and misunderstanding and so I withdraw it. I am no way racist and accept that Varadkar is 100 percent Irish Citizen."

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