Leo Varadkar says Sinn Féin responsible for recent rise in online hate speech in Ireland
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Leo Varadkar says Sinn Féin responsible for recent rise in online hate speech in Ireland

LEO VARADKAR has accused Sinn Féin of encouraging a rise in online "hate speech" ever since their rise to prominence following last month's general election.

In a column for the Sunday Independent, Mr Varadkar wrote that people who criticise Mary Lou McDonald's party are quickly subjected to a torrent of abuse, which often includes aspects of racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.

"Every day, we see an online assault against anyone who dares question or criticise them," he said.

"Sometimes this is even aimed at people from other political parties, who have the temerity to post a positive message about their work.

"Most recently it manifested as racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism - the latter not even considered worthy of sanction of disciplinary action," Mr Varadkar added.

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This was in reference to comments made by newly elected Sinn Féin TD Reada Cronin, who likened Israeli embassy staff to monkeys and said the country had taken "Nazism to a new level".

Sinn Féin councillor Paddy Holohan also came in for criticism in the build up to the election for comments he made about Varadkar's family background and sexuality.

Mr Holohan said that he wanted a "family man" to be Taoiseach and added that Mr Varadkar's "blood obviously runs to India".

The Fine Gael leader eventually accepted an apology from the councillor, though Mr Holohan was later suspended from Sinn Féin for comments he made about young women.