Dublin: Ireland’s Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that he thought a tweet by a House of Lords peer calling him a “typical Indian” was from a parody account.
Former senior Ulster Unionist John Taylor (Lord Kilclooney) posted the tweet on Monday night which was criticised as “racist” and “embarrassing”.
However, Lord Kilclooney rejected “false accusations of racism” and said he would not withdraw the tweet. His tweet was in response to a news story in which Varadkar was accused of “poor manners” over his visit to Northern Ireland.
Referring to the tweet, Varadkar confirmed to the Dáil (Irish Parliament) that he had seen the tweet. He said he didn’t believe at first that the tweet had actually come from the British peer, reported the Irish Sun.
He said: “In terms of Lord Kilclooney’s tweet, I did see it. I actually had thought that was a parody account, but seemingly it’s not. It actually is for real, but that’s all I’ll say about that.”
The tweet was widely criticised with the former Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt saying he could only interpret it as a “racist comment” while Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said it was a “slur on all Indian people over his use of the word typical”.
Lord Kilclooney later deleted the tweet.
It’s the second time Taylor has landed in hot water over a tweet about Varadkar, who was born in Dublin to an Indian father and Irish mother. In November, he referred to Varadkar as “the Indian” in another tweet, also later deleted.