The Environment Minister came in for heavy criticism for his China visit, for environmental and human rights reasons, however others admired his movie star appearance
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has provoked a flurry of comments online after posting a throwback picture of himself travelling around China in the early 1980s.
The Dublin TD and Environment Minister is currently in China on a St Patrick’s Day trip, and has been posting pictures and videos on Twitter, including one of him on a bicycle in 1987 when he was in his 20s.
"Back in 1987 I travelled through China on my own. I remember cycling with twenty people abreast along Tiananmen Square, walking the great wall and then taking the trans-siberian train home. I loved it all,” he wrote, along with the picture taken at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, two years before the massacre of protesters there by government forces.
While many commenters online admired the now Climate Minister’s looks, many more were far less positive.
"A massacre happened here. Fine if you have fond memories of a trip to China but this is the pic he went with. And this is the type of pic the CCP wants western leaders to put out there,” one commenter wrote. “This is terrible taste. And not the message a government minister should be putting out.”
Another said: “No mention of the horrendous one child policy which detrimentally impacted girls in particular resulting in an international adoption policy and has resulted in a gender imbalance in China.”
Another said: “It's a bit mad that I can't get the train to Dublin but you can get there on the trans-siberian. Very odd.”
"Did you have a 4x4 waiting after short cycle for camera's like in Collins Barrack's ???
At least smaller carbon footprint Collin's rather then jetting to China on Green Agenda ? How much investment do you gain ???,” another said.
A good proportion of the comments involved some variation of the following:
However, the real talk of the town was the Green leader’s movie star appearance in the 1987 snap.
"Bit of a looker back in the day,” wrote one commenter.
"Holy f*** he was hot,” wrote another man.
Others posted memes in appreciation.
“Wait... was Eamon an 80s movie star, saving his younger brother and babysitter from the high school goons?,” wrote one person who retweeted the post.
Mr Ryan has travelled to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai over the past few days and is among the 36 Irish ministers who travelled around the world to represent the Government during global St Patrick’s Day festivities.
His trip had been criticised due to China’s links with Russia and the country’s poor record on human rights.
President Xi Jinping will visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin on Friday also announced the visit, saying it will take place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin”.
Speaking from Shanghai last week, Mr Ryan said the trip has been “fascinating”.
“It’s one of the centres of the world of the green revolution that is taking place,” he said in a video posted online.
“In China we have a lot to learn from and we can also offer something – our expertise and our understanding of what it might be to go green.”
While in Hong Kong, the Minister met with the chairman of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and visited Kowloon West Train Station, which transports over 100,000 passengers each day.
Mr Ryan also appeared on a morning news programme, Squawk Box, where he spoke about Ireland’s support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion last year.
In Beijing, he gave the keynote address at Beijing-Dublin International College, which is a collaboration between University College Dublin and Beijing University of Technology.
The Irish Embassy in Beijing also hosted a screening of Martin McDonagh’s Oscar nominated film Banshees of Inisherin to mark the Minister’s visit.
Mr Ryan also met with China's Minister for Ecology and Environment, Mr Huang Runqui.
Last month, he defended ministerial trips abroad for St Patrick’s Day saying it is part of his job to meet with other world leaders outside to build relationships.
Mr Ryan’s trip alone to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai equated to a total of 4.52 metric tonnes, according to the leading flight carbon calculator website.