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Stanley in strange anti-Chinese chicken radio comments

TD said it was ‘unbelievable’ that Irish shops sold the poultry


Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley suggested that it could be possible to catch Covid-19 by eating chicken imported from China during a radio interview at the start of the pandemic.

The remarks emerged as the Laois-Offaly TD is at the centre of controversy over a tweet he posted last weekend about British soldiers being killed in Ireland. A separate tweet from 2017, in which he made a strange remark about Leo Varadkar’s sexuality, has also been highlighted.

He has refused to apologise to the LGBT community for the tweet about Mr Varadkar.

Mr Stanley’s remarks on chicken from China – the country where the coronavirus is believed to have originated – dates back to a Midlands 103 interview from early March.

He told presenter Will Faulkner on Midlands Today that he had learned chicken which was imported from China was being sold in shops in Portlaoise, adding that this was “unbelievable”.

Mr Stanley admitted that he didn’t know if there was a risk presented by that, but added: “I wouldn’t be having it for lunch, would you?”

It was put to Mr Stanley that he had no way of knowing if there was any danger in eating such chicken, to which he replied: “That’s exactly the type of stuff that needs to be examined. That’s my point.”

The presenter said: “You’ve made that suggestion now. You’ve put the fear of God in people about eating chicken.”

In seeking to justify his remarks, Mr Stanley stated that people are afraid of going to parades, engaging in air travel and large gatherings. He said that he had been asked about chicken by his constituents and he was seeking to source an answer for them on the issue.

Mr Faulkner later told listeners that “a simple Google search” of food safety authorities around the world reveals nothing to suggest a person can contract coronavirus by eating chicken or any other food.

Separately, Mr Stanley last night insisted he doesn’t have to apologise to the LGBT community for the tweet about Mr Varadkar.

The Sinn Féin TD’s tweet, from June 2017, read: “Yippie 4 d tory. it’s Leo. U can do what you like in bed but don’t look 4 a pay rise in the morning.”

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Mr Stanley has claimed the “yippie” was him celebrating what has been achieved in terms of rights for gay people. He said there’s a danger short tweets can be “misrepresented”.

He added that he has been campaigning for gay rights “before it was popular or fashionable” and that his record stands for itself, adding: “I do not have to apologise to anybody.”

Mr Stanley said people in the gay community know his record and cited Mr Varadkar himself, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer and Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield.

Mr Buttimer said the tweet was “unacceptable”, it “undermines” the support Mr Stanley has offered in relation to LGBT rights.  

Mr Warfield said: “Brian has a strong record standing up for equality. A clumsily worded tweet doesn’t change that.

“Other than a journalist, I’m not sure who has asked Brian to apologise to the LGBT community. Manufactured controversies do nothing to advance the cause of equality.”

Mr Stanley has said sorry for his tweet about the death of British soldiers. He admitted it was insensitive.

Last night all of the posts on Mr Stanley's Twitter account appeared to have been deleted.

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