House of the Oireachtas

Senator Eileen Flynn and the ‘Racist’ Phantom of the Seanad.

Is racism in the room with us now?

Senator Eileen Flynn has made a speech in response to comments, made by Senator Sharon Keogan, in which Keogan had criticised the rush to label opposing or questioning political views as ‘far right’.  

As many of us are aware, it seems as though any utterance of an opinion that is questioning the Irish government and media establishment’s wholehearted commitment to liberal or left policies is branded as far right. 

Flynn could be seen smirking while twisting her hair as Senator Keogan spoke in relation to people who wanted to project life in the womb being labelled as “just hating women”. 

It reminded me that I had been afforded a small measure of amusement recently when a couple of individuals called my colleague Ben Scallan and I, racist and xenophobic for criticising Ireland’s unsustainable immigration policy as the unmitigated mess that it is. 

Ironically, both Ben and I have one immigrant parent each, making us the product of immigration – so to speak. One of the legitimate kinds of immigration where people from overseas – other continents in the case of our parents – move to Ireland after falling in love with an irresistibly charming Irish cailín (in my dad’s case) or buachaill (in Ben’s mum’s case). 

Of course, neither of us actively try to use our heritage to browbeat other people – because identity politics is a gross leftist tactic –  but if they’re going to call us names like ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobe’ as a lazy way to counter our political arguments, I’d say all bets are off. 

Long story short, when Senator Eileen Flynn spoke of ‘racism’ in the Seanad it caught my attention. 

I thought, “How would people with genuinely racist beliefs even make it into the Seanad in the first place?”. 

In Flynn’s speech she made indirect claims of racism in the Seanad, and thanked her “colleagues in the house that where they saw racists….they’re addressing it, supporting me to address it”, she said

“I will not tolerate racists in this house,“ says Flynn.

I’d challenge her to name the individuals she is referring to. Who are the racist Senators? What have they said? Or is this a ploy to leave a mark of suspicion on some Senators – a sort of general smear? 

She continues: ‘It’s very important that this is not a platform for racists’. Again, what racists, and what have they said? It’s not good enough for a Senator to describe such serious matter with such broad strokes or without evidence. 

Ireland, of course is not perfect, I remember being bullied at school for looking different and having a ‘funny’ name – though if it wasn’t that perhaps some other aspect of my being would have been targeted, because kids can be cruel. 

However, to suggest that racism is being spouted in the Houses of the Oireachtas is, in my opinion, absurd. 

 

 

Flynn also spoke about the importance of speaking about Black Lives Matter, which is a tad strange in the context of Ireland and Irish history. As my colleague Dr. Matt Treacy writes, the Irish never engaged in colonialism, instead we were the victims of it. 

There is also no evidence to suggest our unarmed police force are shooting or targeting black people disproportionately, as they have been accused of in the US. 

Gript contacted senator Flynn asking her to clarify who in the Seanad had made racist statements, and what incidents of racism she was referring to. However at time of publication of this article we had yet to receive a response. 

So at least for the moment it seems like the inferred ‘racism’ may be little more than a spectre lurking in the minds of those who don’t want to have real conversations about issues like immigration, abortion, or transgender extremism for example. 

I couldn’t help but notice Senator Flynn has previously made interesting comments calling on Ireland to have a “national hijab day” to celebrate the islamic head covering which is currently at the centre of mass protests in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of ‘modesty police’. 

 

 

In fairness to Flynn her comments are from before the death of Amini, but given the historical controversy surrounding Islam and women’s rights, it seems like a  strange thing to want to celebrate in a western democracy if you ask me. 

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