Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party, could be accused of a lot of things. Impractical idealism. Political naivety. Occasionally missing the point even.
Lest we forget in the past few months alone, he's suggested communal cars and the reintroduction of wolves as good moves for rural Ireland. Not to mention growing salad on south-facing window sills as a response to the Covid-19 crisis. But few people would ever have added racism to that list. And with good reason, Eamon Ryan is, without a doubt, a decent man.
And yet this is exactly where he now finds himself with accusations of being 'morally reprehensible' and unfit to lead - coming from within his own party. With one Green Party councillor stating Ryan joined the Greens to 'stand up to racism - and will continue to call it out when he sees it'.
Except he didn't really see it did he? Eamon Ryan made an impassioned anti-racist speech in Leinster House last Thursday, describing the scourge of racism in our society and quoting one young man's experience of racism where he was called the n-word as a child.
Sean Gillane used the n-word, in full, when he described the abuse he received, and Ryan used it in full when he quoted him - expressing his disgust that any child would be called something like that. And that is the sum total evidence of Eamon Ryan's 'racism'.
But the truth is that neither the context, nor intention, behind what Ryan said seems to matter when the scent of political opportunism is in the air. Ryan is in the middle of a challenge to his leadership of the Green Party by Catherine Martin and it's no coincidence that his main critics over this come not from among his political opponents - many of whom have come out in support of him - but from within the Greens.
Martin's supporters have said the current challenge to Ryan's leadership - despite their recent incredibly good election result and the fact that they're in the middle of government formation talks - is simply a requirement of the Green Party constitution. But the ferocity of the attacks on Ryan would belie any idea that they are just going through the motions. The challenge to Ryan's leadership is clearly pointed, personal and determined.
Hazel Chu, Green Party TD, also used the n-word in full, last year, in a similar context to Ryan and received no such criticism from her Green colleagues, so it would seem there isn't a blanket approach to the use of it - it's more selective than that.
She apologised for its use in a tweet last Friday - either having suddenly seen the error of her ways, or else perhaps not wanting to bring the wrath of 'true' anti-racists down on her Asian Irish head.
So why did Ryan say it? More naivety? Who knows? Perhaps it was deliberate - to highlight the absolutely abhorrent nature of such verbal abuse.
I never liked when people asterisked out the word 'pussy' when talking about Trump - I thought it let him off the hook too easily. Or perhaps Ryan didn't want to disempower or misquote Sean Gillane's testimony. Certainly he did not use it in a manner that seemed to endorse it in any way - quite the opposite in fact.
And should he have used it? No. It's a word loaded with racial violence irrespective of the context. So at the very least it was ill-judged. But was it racist? I don't believe for a moment it was.
Ryan fully apologised for using the word and any hurt that it may have caused, and says that he realises it should never be used. And I understand entirely that it isn't within my gift to decide if something is offensive to black people or not - words like n****r are not used against me so I don't get a say on their impact. But I spoke with several people of colour on air in the wake of this and they'd some very interesting views.
One Nigerian Irish man told me that he knew Eamon Ryan wasn't being racist and wasn't trying to hurt or offend anyone - and he fully accepted his apology.
He also said getting angry at those who are allies in the fight against racism because they get something wrong - was a mistake. And, more importantly, he went on to say he believed that those accusing Ryan of racism were actually "using the very important issue of racism as a mere pawn in the political struggle for the leadership of the Green Party" - and he didn't like it.
An Indian Irish man said he thought that people focusing on what Eamon Ryan said was a sideline and - rather than having a proper conversation about the big picture of discrimination in society - was part of the problem.
There have always been some within the Greens who've questioned Ryan's judgment. His occasional PR gaffe. His perceived lack of shrewdness.
They see this latest debacle as more evidence of that. But that's not the drum they're beating. No, they instead, are accusing a man who is one of the most genuinely progressive and liberal TDs in the Dail - of racism. And it's grubby.
It's ruthless, political manoeuvring with a shroud of sanctimony thrown over it. And it reveals something entirely rotten - that they're willing to trounce a decent man's reputation for the sake of a power grab. It's a move worthy of Charles Haughey in his heyday.
There's little doubt that we, in Ireland, have an issue with racism along with much of the rest of the world, and that needs urgent addressing.
Eamon Ryan is clearly on the side of trying to combat the problem. That social media and political opportunists are having a go at him on this is something he doesn't deserve. And that this attack against him came from Greens bandwagoning on the important Black Lives Matters movement, distastefully trivialises racism and is an absolute discredit to them.
It actually leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Question Eamon Ryan's capabilities if you wish, but leave the man's character alone.
Green party politics - not so radically different after all.