Defence Forces probe over Nazi salutes on Bebo

THE military authorities have launched an investigation after members of the Defence Forces were shown giving Nazi salutes and posting racist comments on a social networking site.

At least two reserve Defence Force members based in Dublin are under investigation. A spokes-woman for the Minster for Defence Willie O’Dea confirmed the “review” was ongoing and the investigation was expected to be completed by the end of the week.

“There was an investigation at unit level and there was no disciplinary action taken at that level. However, the matter is now with the chief of staff’s office and that investigation is ongoing.”

Independent TD Finian McGrath, who raised the issue with Mr O’Dea, said there could be no tolerance of “racist or fascist views in the Defence Forces”. Mr McGrath said: “This is a cancer that must be nipped in the bud. This behaviour is totally unacceptable for members of the Irish Defence Forces, particularly in the current debate over Lisbon and what role the Irish army will play in projects abroad. You cannot have a minority of soldiers involved in this sort of activity as it severely damages the reputation of the Defence Forces at home and abroad.”

In one image a Defence Force recruit is seen next to a statue of a German eagle clutching a swastika. The young man is wearing a German iron cross buckle on his belt. Another image shows the soldier superimposed beside Ku Klux Klan members.

Another recruit’s Bebo page displayed messages from other members of the far right from Ireland and Britain. Beside a picture of him giving a Nazi salute he writes: “I’m proud of my bloodline, of my white ancestry and, if that makes me a racist, then I’m proud.”

The sites have been closed since the investigation began.


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