Tánaiste: TDs and election candidates need to be 'pulled up' on far-right comments

Tánaiste: TDs and election candidates need to be 'pulled up' on far-right comments

Politicians and election candidates need to be "pulled up" on far-right comments which incite hatred, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Coveney has told the Dáil that free speech is not the same as providing a free platform to spread whatever one thinks will gain political advantage or to bully or target someone.

"When candidates say things that are wrong, they need to get pulled up on it," he said.

"If they are decent people, they will apologise and try to correct the inaccuracies. If they are not, then the public will have to make a choice."

It comes after Verona Murphy, Fine Gael's by-election candidate in Wexford, was forced to apologise for remarks she made about people seeking asylum here.

In the Dáil, Independent TD Noel Grealish was recently accused of "disgraceful racism" after questioning money being sent home to Nigeria by migrants.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste if the Government would be introducing legislation ahead of the next general election to ensure that hate speech by parties or candidates is outlawed and that the spread of far-right messaging on social media is controlled and eliminated.

Mr Coveney said Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is already carrying out a review to make sure that the laws are "water-tight "and that "incitement to hatred, hate speech and spreading falsehoods, inaccuracies and lies that promulgate fear for political reasons can be responded to appropriately".

He said the challenge of social media platforms providing a platform for "blatant inaccuracies" must be debated by the Dáil in order to support new initiatives that the Government may introduce in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Shane Ross has criticised Ms Murphy claiming some of her remarks have been "irresponsible and wrong".

"She said she didn't approve of the RSA [Road Safety Authority] and wanted it abolished, she said all sorts of very critical things.

She said things which are bordering on the irresponsible, which are irresponsible.

"I thoroughly disagree with them as well."

It came after it was revealed that Ms Murphy as head of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) sent an email to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in which she said Mr Ross had "no comprehension as to what is good for Ireland".

Reacting, Mr Ross said: "What she said about me is really neither here nor there, but I think you should consider them as valuable and as worthy as what she said about other things which I strongly, strongly disagree with."

More on this topic

FA to investigate allegations of racist abuse in Manchester derbyFA to investigate allegations of racist abuse in Manchester derby

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brands ‘Black Friday’ headline ‘worst front page ever’Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brands ‘Black Friday’ headline ‘worst front page ever’

Italian sports newspaper accused of fuelling racism with ‘Black Friday’ headlineItalian sports newspaper accused of fuelling racism with ‘Black Friday’ headline

Aleksander Ceferin insists UEFA is ‘trying’ in fight against racismAleksander Ceferin insists UEFA is ‘trying’ in fight against racism


More in this Section

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo cancelled due to stormWild Lights at Dublin Zoo cancelled due to storm

In pictures: The first look at Storm Atiyah as it hits IrelandIn pictures: The first look at Storm Atiyah as it hits Ireland

Traffic chaos which blighted 'All Together Now' festival could have been avoided - GardaiTraffic chaos which blighted 'All Together Now' festival could have been avoided - Gardai

10% of GPs have signed up to provide abortion services, HSE confirm10% of GPs have signed up to provide abortion services, HSE confirm


Lifestyle

A decade on from their split, Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Carmit Bachar and Jessica Sutta are back together for a tour of the UK and Ireland in April next year.The Pussycat Dolls: Using the second of their nine lives

Ellie O’Byrne paid a visit to the Kabin in Knocknaheeny to see the supportive atmosphere that gave rise to the duo behind the ‘Yeah Boy’ hit.You’d need to have had your head buried in the sand not to have come across MC Tiny and MC The King

Aoife Buckley, one of the recipients of this year's Gaisce Gold award: It's ok to be different.School Daze with Aoife Buckley: I started working towards the Gaisce Awards in third year

Festive seasons come and go, but some moments can never be forgotten, discovers Donal O’Keeffe.Stories of Christmas past and present

More From The Irish Examiner