Earlier this month, a revealing exchange took place between Limerick TD, Willie O’Dea (FF) and a Green party councillor from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown called Oisín O’Connor.
You can already see where this is going: the smug city slickers talking down to the country folk, while also virtue signalling about compassion and ideological purity to beat the band.
Willie O’Dea had the temerity, you see, to ask a question about moves to undermine the results of the referendum in 2004 where almost 80% of Irish people voted against giving automatic citizenship rights for children born in Ireland to non-Irish parents.
With all the talk of landslides lately, it’s worth repeating that result: some 80% of Irish people voted Yes in the Citizenship referendum. It was carried by a massive majority.
The people had barely voted however when the usual allegations came from the usual quarters: it was a racist referendum and the wishes of the people had to be overturned since they needed to be told what was good for them, especially on issues like immigration where they required guidance from their betters, such as Fintan O’Toole.
O’Toole wrote last year that the “2004 referendum on citizenship was a disgrace to Irish democracy” and called for repeal of the 27th amendment. (Good to know he believes that issues should constantly be revisited and the electorate required to vote again on what some might consider a decided matter. I look forward to the Irish Times giving space to pieces also calling for repeal of the 36th).
But back to the abusive tweets from Oisín O’Connor of the Greens, and to the existential question at hand: are we all “racist b****xs” now?
In March, a Labour proposal seeking to seriously undermine the spirit of the 2004 vote was passed by the Cabinet, allowing Irish-born children of immigrants to apply for citizenship after 12 months’ continuous residence. Several months later, Willie O ‘Dea asked Justice Minister Heather Humphreys if she planned to support the “restoration of birthright citizenship in Ireland” – saying that this would be “against the wishes of the Irish electorate who voted overwhelmingly in favour of restricting birthright citizenship in the 2004 referendum”.
The Times reports that Wendy Lyon, an immigration solicitor, criticised Deputy O’Dea’s question as an “absolute state”, though it was unclear if this was her legal opinion. Her tweet was then taken up by Oisín O’Connor who initially described O’Dea as “a nasty piece of work”.
Throwing caution to the wind, O’Connor then followed up with a tweet saying: “A referendum isn’t required to restore birthright citizenship,” and describing O’Dea as “just being a racist b****x.”
O’Dea was understandably annoyed and told The Times that O’Connor’s tweets about him were “disgusting”.
“I simply asked a parliamentary question on behalf of a constituent and relayed the response to the constituent,” O’Dea said. “I find it disgusting that a councillor from the Green Party, with whom we’re in government, would resort to publishing an insulting reference to me for just doing my job as a public representative. On the other hand, however, I suppose, as recent revelations have shown, vulgar abuse is nothing new from this quarter,” he said.
He added that while the Greens present themselves as trying to save the planet, “they seem to have a second function of abusing people and drowning differing views out with nasty and vulgar abuse, including people whose votes are keeping their Green ministerial colleagues in office. I wonder what Minister Ryan would think about this. I intend to ask him”.
Perhaps Eamon Ryan, and politicians from across most of the political parties who are contriving to overturn the 2004 vote by the back door, could also address the issue of whether they think the 80% of Irish people who voted to restrict citizenship are also “racist”, whatever about them being “b****xes”.
O’Connor subsequently took down the tweet, and apologised to O’Dea. But while the whole episode was unedifying, it was certainly revealing.
The plebs who voted by a 80% majority are racist and awful, and the political elite are therefore working to overturn their wishes. There’ll be no apology from them for that, unless the people wake up and assert their sovereignty.