Northern Ireland news

Lord Kilclooney deletes Leo Varadkar 'typical Indian' tweet

Lord Kilclooney rejected allegations of racism and insisted he was "pro-Indian"
Brendan Hughes

LORD Kilclooney has deleted a post on Twitter in which he called taoiseach Leo Varadkar a "typical Indian" and admitted it was a mistake.

The former UUP deputy leader, now a cross-bench peer, rejected allegations of racism and insisted he was "pro-Indian".

Lord Kilclooney had faced criticism for his tweet in response to a news article in which the DUP accused Mr Varadkar of "poor manners" for not notifying local reps of a trip north.

It later emerged Mr Varadkar had informed the Northern Ireland Office, which confirmed he had followed all required protocol.

Mr Varadkar, who became taoiseach in June 2017, was born in the Republic to an Irish mother and Indian father.

Lord Kilclooney refused to apologise for the remark, and said he had no intention to stop using Twitter.

When asked if he accepted that many people regarded his tweet as racist, the peer told the BBC: "Absolutely, I can understand them reaching that conclusion.

"And that's why I removed it, but I'm certainly not racist at all."

The 80-year-old added: "I'm not apologising. I have removed the tweet because it was a mistake."

The peer insisted he was "pro-Indian", saying: "I have worked for the Indian community in London and throughout the United Kingdom. I have a great admiration for them."

It's not the first time Lord Kilclooney has caused controversy on Twitter.

In November, after tánaiste Simon Coveney said he wanted to see a united Ireland within his lifetime, Lord Kilclooney tweeted that Mr Coveney was "hoping to undermine the Indian".

The peer later withdrew the post and acknowledged it had "caused upset and misunderstanding".

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