Sinn Fein politician won’t face suspension over antisemitic comments

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Sinn Fein politician won’t face suspension over antisemitic comments

Irish party won't enforce disciplinary action for Reada Cronin, who said Israel had 'taken Nazism to a new level' and compared Israeli embassy staff to monkeys


(Wikipedia/Author: Sinn Féin/(CC BY 2.0))
Réada_Cronin (Wikipedia/Author: Sinn Féin/(CC BY 2.0))

A Sinn Fein TD who had to apologise after making anti-Semitic remarks on Twitter will not face disciplinary action or suspension.

The newly elected TD for Kildare North, Reada Cronin, posted that Israel had “taken Nazism to a new level” and suggested a picture of monkeys working on computers reminded her of the Israeli embassy, the Sunday Times Ireland reported.

Speaking in Dublin on Wednesday, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said her remarks are not in line with Sinn Fein views and she was right to withdraw them.

When asked if Ms Cronin would face any penalty or suspension, he said: “We have protocols in relation to social media policy and these comments have been withdrawn and apologised for – some of them were before she was even a member of Sinn Fein.”

He was also asked if there are any social media guidelines for Sinn Fein representatives. He said: “There are social media guidelines in relation to how people conduct themselves on social media. I think people can use social media in a very harmful and negative way and that is important that does not happen.”

“The key thing here is that when people make comments that are inappropriate and inexcusable is that they are withdrawn and apologised for and it is made clear that they are in no way a reflection of Sinn Fein’s position.”

“We do have protocols and we do have social media guidelines. There is nobody sitting in the party looking at the accounts of every single Sinn Fein member in relation to what they are saying.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said tweets posted by the Sinn Fein TD before she was elected should “trouble us all”.

On Thursday, Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, took issue with “inaccurate, antisemitic and racist” social media posts from Cronin.

Speaking to Jewish News, he said: “It is disappointing that her offensive comments have neither been criticised nor condemned by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.

“Unfortunately too many people in Ireland have an opinion on everything, whether or not they have any knowledge of the particular subject on which they are commenting.

“Due to this lack of knowledge the term Nazism is bandied around in Ireland without knowing that it was, amongst other things, the premeditated, industrialised slaughter of six million Jews and many others that didn’t suit the Nazi Regime.

“A little education on what constitutes antisemitism would go a long way to correcting this problem. To that end, we would urge Sinn Féin and other political parties to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism.

“The definition has been adopted by most countries in Europe and as Ireland is already a signatory to the IHRA we have de facto accepted it. It is now up to our politicians to adhere to it.”

Ms Cronin’s Twitter account has been made private since the tweets emerged and she issued a statement on Tuesday in which she “unreservedly and wholeheartedly” apologised and said the tweets were “glib” and “off-the-cuff”.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Varadkar said the “antisemitic & anti-science remarks” made by a newly elected representative “should trouble us all”.

Talks about government formation will also take place on Wednesday, with Sinn Fein set to meet some independent TDs and smaller parties.

The leaders of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein are set to be nominated for the office of Taoiseach on Thursday when the 33rd Dail convenes.

However, it is unlikely a Taoiseach will be elected so parliament will adjourn.

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