Ireland

Elon Musk accused of 'inciting hatred' after intervention on Dublin violence and claims Leo Varadkar "hates the Irish people"

Elon Musk (left) has been accused of inciting hatred over his interventions on the recent violence in Dublin city centre and apparent endorsement of Conor McGregor (inset).
Elon Musk (left) has been accused of inciting hatred over his interventions on the recent violence in Dublin city centre and apparent endorsement of Conor McGregor (inset). Elon Musk (left) has been accused of inciting hatred over his interventions on the recent violence in Dublin city centre and apparent endorsement of Conor McGregor (inset).

Elon Musk, the owner of X, formerly Twitter, has been accused of inciting hatred in Ireland after posting comments about Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish government.

The South African-born billionaire, who has increasingly associated himself with far-right commentators on the social media platform he bought last year, intervened in the wake of the violence that erupted in the streets of Dublin on Thursday.

It followed a knife attack on a woman and three young children outside a primary school at Parnell Square.

In a series of exchanges on Friday and Saturday, Musk, who has 164 million followers on X, claimed: “The Irish PM hates the Irish people”, and: “The current Irish government clearly cares more about praise from woke media than their own people.”

The comments about Mr Varadkar prompted an intervention from the Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, who rejected the claim, while speaking RTE Radio 1, the former Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu said the comments were “inciting hatred and violence among certain people”.

She also pointed out that Musk was continually engaging with far right accounts on his platform.

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The accounts the billionaire has engaged with on the X platform in recent days include far right activist Michael O’Keefe.

Musk also responded to pledges by Mr Varadkar to modernise legislation to tackle the use of incitement to hatred on social media platforms, by tweeting: “Suppression of the Irish people is the real crime.”

The criticism of the Irish government comes 12 months after Micheál Martin called for Irish employees of Twitter to be treated with “respect” and “dignity” after a series of lay-offs following Musk’s takeover.

Speaking at the weekend, Mr Martin expressed concern over the failure of X to co-operate in efforts to tackle “hate and bile” on social media.

Elon Musk’s interventions over the weekend also appeared to include an apparent endorsement of the idea of mixed martial artist Conor McGregor running for office in Ireland, suggesting it was “not a bad idea”.

McGregor has been accused of inflaming Thursday night’s riots in a series of tweets both in the lead up to, and during the violence, announcing: “Ireland, we are at war.”

In a later post, where he said he did not condone the riots, the sports figure posted a brief statement over a tweet from Paul Golding, leader of the far-right Britain First party.

Golding, who is an ex-BNP councillor, has been convicted in the north for distributing racist material and was embroiled in the loyalist flag protests that swept across the north in 2012.