C: Houses of the Oireachtas

Ó Ríordáin slammed for ‘hatred of his country’ after saying Ireland ‘stale old and failed’ before immigration

Labour TD, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has been widely criticised online after he described Ireland as being ‘stale, old and failed’ prior to increased immigration.

“It was so inspirational and emotional to see children from all parts of the country coming together talking about their learnings and living in an Ireland which is so much more rich and exciting than the Ireland I grew up in,” he told the Dáil during a debate on hate-speech legislation.

“The Ireland I grew up in was stale, old and failed and everybody wanted to leave it. Now we have a country which is full of families who have come here to become Irish, to be Irish and to share this international experience.”

The video has attracted 12,000 views and hundreds of comments, mostly negative and taking issue with the Labour TD’s remarks.

“Ageism from a middle-age (and decidedly “stale”) man. He nearly said “pale, male and stale”, which would have been an own-goal,” said journalist Ger Comiskey.

“We never had so many crisis that couldn’t be solved as we do now, even emigration is a problem. But we never had such a crisis in health, housing, education and such a high national debt. Never mind what part of Ireland he lives in, what planet is this guy on?” asked one commentator.

“The man is a virtue performing joke. He forgets who he represents and it’s not just a minority group. But he must feed his saviour mentality at all times,” was another woman’s reaction.

Independent Cllr Emmett O’Brien said that “the hatred for this country is palpable”.

“What is it about the modern day Left that have this hatred for their own country and its indigenous citizens. They appear to see the needs of foreign citizens above all else, but then expect their core support to support them with this approach? Madness,” said one man.

“So the thing that makes Ireland good today is that there people in it from somewhere else. When it was just Irish people, it was shite. Interesting. I wonder would he say that about other countries?” was another reaction.

Some reactions pointed to Labour’s showing in the polls. “3% in polls yet thinks he can pontificate about what’s good for Ireland,” said one woman.

Others said that many who left in the 80s would have preferred to stay here.

One man described the TD’s remarks as ‘bizarre, pathetic, self-loathing’.

Others pointed to the current crises wracking the country – while one woman said politicians had created an Ireland where people are emigrating in their droves because there ‘is nothing here for them’.

Ó Riordáin said that “The Ireland that I grew up in was made for people just like me. It was made for white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual men. It was made for us. We have always run this place.”

The Labour TD was a Minister from 2014 to 2016. After losing his seat in the Dáil, he was appointed by Labour to the Seanad, before taking the seat in Dublin Bay North again in 2020.

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