Kildare councillor Darren Scully is himself now facing criticism after he sent a letter to a newspaper and said that the family of the three-year-old Syrian boy were “not fleeing for their lives”.
Mr Scully is no stranger to controversy and was once forced to resign as a mayor after being caught up in a racism row for saying he would not represent black Africans.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, he defended his latest comments which he said were in response to an inaccurate report about the family of Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.
Mr Scully had said the family of the boy, who drowned with his brother off the coast of Turkey in August, were not fleeing for their lives.
The letter read: “If I put my children in a small boat without lifejackets and tried to set sail to a nearby island I would be rightly called an idiot.”
Mr Scully said that it had not been pointed out that the boy’s father had been living and working in Turkey for three years.
He told the Irish Examiner yesterday that European policy was at fault as were the recent actions of Germany’s Angela Merkel.
What happened to the family was terrible, but it was an unnecessary risk, as they were living in Turkey, a safe country. There is no war in Turkey.
“It’s a modern country and they had lived there for several years.
“We don’t want people to take unnecessary risks. It has to be dealt with in a responsible way.
“We should not be encouraging people to flee a country and risk their lives,” he said.
“When the [German] chancellor says anybody can come, that’s irresponsible, as people risk their lives.
“Europe, as a whole, has handled this badly. It’s been a knee-jerk reaction. We need a proper policy in place.
“That family would be alive today if the father did not take those unnecessary risks.
“It would have been different if they were being chased by someone with a machine gun.
“We need to encourage people not to take risks,” he said.