Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley apologises for tweets on IRA and sexuality

Sinn Fein TD and Public Accounts Committee chairman Brian Stanley said he is “truly sorry” for the hurt and anger he caused by posting two controversial tweets.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 5:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 5:34 pm
Brian Stanley TD has apologised
Brian Stanley TD has apologised

The Sinn Fein TD posted a tweet last month in which he appeared to glorify historical killings of British soldiers by the IRA.

He has also been criticised for a 2017 tweet he sent that appeared to comment on the sexuality of Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar.

In a statement to the Dail, Mr Stanley said: “As we now advance reconciliation in our country we need to be able to talk about the past in a way that doesn’t cause deep division.

“We must be sensitive in how we talk about the past, and respectful that the views that others hold about the past may be different.

“I accept that my tweet regarding the ambushes at Kilmicheal and in Narrow Water was insensitive and it caused hurt and anger.

“Words can do that and my words did that, and for that I am truly sorry.”

Brian Stanley added: “Another post I tweeted in 2017 on the day that Leo Varadkar was elected as leader of Fine Gael has also been the subject of public commentary.

“The impending election as Taoiseach as someone who was gay was rightly highlighted at the time as a sign of the progress that we have made as a country and as a State.

“Following on from the marriage referendum two years prior, that’s something people are very proud of and rightly so.

“The point I was trying to make was, that’s great, but let’s also focus on advancing workers’ rights and the rights of people with no income and economic justice and issues such as a living wage, which we don’t have yet in this country.

“I accept that’s a point I didn’t articulate in a very good way and that that tweet is open to different interpretations.

“I did try to contact the Tanaiste to address my apology to him and I will do so again following this address.”

Mr Stanley said that homophobia is “abhorrent”, adding that he “deplores” prejudice of any kind.

“I realise that many people who have read my tweets don’t know me personally, they don’t know my record, they don’t know my stance on issues,” he told the Dail.

“My record is not a defence nor does it take away from any hurt caused. It forms an insight into the values that I hold as an activist and as a public representative and as committee representative and more importantly as a person.

“As an ally of the LGBTQ community I am even more responsible and accountable and I recognise that.

“I hope that those who were hurt accept my apologies and my colleagues accept my sincerity of my statement.

“I own my own mistakes and the hurt that I caused.

“I’m at fault and I am responsible for the accusations that have been levelled at me.

“I am committed to learning from these mistakes and I will be sure of this to work even harder to promote causes of equality, inclusion, understanding and reconciliation and ending division.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe