It’s been a rough morning for Fianna Fáil’s by-election candidate in Dublin Fingal, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee. After this website revealed on Saturday evening that the Senator had sent a number of openly racist tweets, she found herself on the front page of the Irish Independent this morning, claiming amongst other things that she had been “taken out of context” and was the “victim of a right wing smear”:

“Asked by the Irish Independent for a comment on her controversial tweets, Ms Clifford-Lee issued a statement.

She said the tweets referred to are from as far back as 2011 and were posted long before she became involved in electoral politics.

“I want to be absolutely clear, the tweets were wrong and I apologise for any hurt or offence caused by them,” she said.

“While it does suit some people to take my tweets out of context for their own right-wing agenda, I hope that the people of Dublin Fingal will not be distracted by personal smear campaigns such as this.

“Anyone who has worked with me since my election to the Seanad three years ago can confirm the role I played in promoting progressive policies.

“I also actively supported the marriage equality referendum and the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment.””

In fairness to Senator Clifford-Lee, it is true that this website leans, politically, to the centre right. It is also true that she supported both the marriage referendum and the campaign to introduce abortion. That’s where the truth stops, unfortunately.

The claim that the Senator was taken out of context is patently false. If a context exists that makes her statement about Brazilians on her bus less racist, we will gladly publish it – but the statement was made as a stand-alone comment. There was no surrounding material, or any context for it whatever.

Senator Clifford-Lee faces more problems this morning, with further tweets emerging casting doubt on her feminist credentials.

The Wright Venue in Swords is the largest nightclub in the Dublin Fingal Constituency, which she seeks to represent. In 2011, Senator Clifford-Lee described it as “the slut venue”.

So-called “slut shaming” has been a major issue for feminists in recent years.

Senator Clifford-Lee also referred to celebrity, Kim Kardashian, as “fat-arse Kardashian”, when Ms. Kardashian visited Dublin.

Later, she denounced the “bullying of overweight people”.

In recent years, Senator Clifford Lee has attempted to re-invent herself as a born-again feminist, going so far as to accuse a Fine Gael Senator of “misogyny” because he told her “it was important to listen”

“Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee then said: “You guys had an awful lot more spin doctors than we ever had.”

“I know Senator Clifford-Lee is trying to assert herself here but it is important to listen as well,” Buttimer replied.

Sinn Féin Senator Máire Devine said: “That is not good language”, before Clifford-Lee added: “It is very gendered language … I take exception to misogynistic language.”

Norris then stated: “How is it gendered language? That is rubbish. It is absolute tripe.”

Don’t the people of Dublin Fingal have a right to ask: If Senator Clifford Lee thinks a sentence like “It is important to listen as well” is misogynistic language, what on earth would she say about someone calling the largest nightclub in her constituency a “slut venue”?