Former Ulster Unionist deputy leader Lord Kilclooney has denied being racist after calling Ireland’s Taoiseach ‘the Indian’.
The peer, who is no longer a member of the UUP, acknowledged his remark about Leo Varadkar had caused “upset and misunderstanding” so he was withdrawing it.
Mr Varadkar was born in Ireland. His father is from India and mother from Ireland.
Lord Kilclooney, 79, stirred controversy in a tweet on Thursday evening as he commented on a political story involving Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney.
He wrote: “Simon Coveney is stirring things up. Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian.”
The tweet was met with condemnation on social media.
Lord Kilclooney later tweeted: “In Twitter one is restricted to a limited number of words and so for shorthand I used the term Indian for the new PM in Dublin.
“This has caused upset and misunderstanding and so I withdraw it. I am no way racist and accept that Varadkar is 100 percent Irish Citizen.”