Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanely deletes Twitter account

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanely deletes Twitter account

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley told the PAC today that he did not need to apologise to anyone after many years of campaigning on rights issues. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanely has deleted his Twitter account following the uncovering of a tweet which was taken as offensive to LGBT people.

Mr Stanley has said that the criticism of his social media posts was political and coordinated.

This evening, his Twitter and Facebook pages were deleted.

The Sinn Féin TD and Public Accounts Committee chair tweeted in June 2017: "Yippee 4 d tory. it's Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don't look 4 a pay rise the next morning."

Mr Stanley says his record campaiging on LGBTQ+ rights stands and the meaning of the post had been "twisted".

Maria Walsh Fine Gael MEP tweeted in reply: "If Deputy Stanley really believes someone’s sexuality is linked to their abilities in their workplace...

"What is this saying to fellow LGBTQI citizens who face hate speech & discrimination on a daily basis across Europe?"

Mr Stanley told the Public Accounts Committee today that he did not need to apologise to anyone after many years of campaigning on rights issues.

"I was out campaigning for the rights of the gay communities before it came into fashion, I campaigned in every campaign for gay rights. I grew up in an Ireland when gay people were criminalised, I witnessed gay people who were taking abuse, teenage friends of mine, who are gay took abuse," he said.

"An Ireland where women were treated appallingly, and my record stands on its own.

"I have campaigned in every referendum, including the two divorce referendums, I campaigned for contraception, campaigned for gay rights, I actively campaigned for gay marriage."

Mr Stanley pointed to a parliamentary question he tabled last week about the rights of gay adoptive parents accessing social protection, which he said he had asked on behalf of his constituents and one couple in Laois-Offaly in particular.

"I don't want to have to apologise to people in the gay community and certainly my own party, and members of this house like Jerry Buttimer who's on the government benches would know my record. Leo Varadkar would know my record and how I voted every time, Fintan Warfield would know it (Sinn Féin LGBT spokesperson).

I don't have any apology to make to anybody, what I meant in that tweet was, we were trying to push legislation and measures regarding workers' rights and minimum wage and living wage.

"The point I was making was; it's great that we have achieved the rights for gay people, and for women, and 'Yipee' to that point, the missing piece for me was to try and advance the rights of workers, and to improve their conditions.

"Leo Varadkar was the leader of the government at the time and there was pushback against conditions for workers and workers' incomes etc.

"Tweets are shorthand, and we're not as good at it, and it is dangerous with shorthand, it can be misinterpreted.

"We got so far in terms of the rights for gay people, my record over the last more than 30 years before stands, before some people in other parties to come around to the issue of gay rights and women's rights.

"I celebrate that point, but as a Republican, the missing piece for me is the rights of workers and improving the lives of workers. It's as simple as that.

"If we're going to get to the point where we don't allow some level of freedom of speech and for every word that everyone goes for us to be twisted and turned to someone else's agenda, we're not going very far as a society, as I said, my record with the LGBTQ+ community stands for itself.

I do not have to apologise to anybody. I have worked for it when it wasn't trendy.

"I've never shouted or claimed credit for that but you do have to stand up to put the record straight because unfortunately, some people have set out to try and twist that."

Fellow Public Accounts Committee member Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy said although Mr Stanley had explained his role in campaigning for the LGBTQ+ community in general: "I don't think it's ever acceptable to link someone's sexual orientation, with public policy, and I don't think the reference to the (then) Taoiseach is acceptable."

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