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Peer’s tweet on Varadkar ignites new racism row

Former Ulster Unionist MEP Lord Kilclooney sparked a Twitter racism row last night when he described Leo Varadkar as a "typical Indian" after the Taoiseach's visit to Northern Ireland yesterday.

The peer was reacting after the BBC reported that DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Mr Varadkar's visit showed disrespect, and was "outside normal protocol" as local politicians had not been informed about it beforehand.

"Typical Indian," the peer - better known as John Taylor - tweeted.

It's not the first time Lord Kilclooney has got himself into hot water over Tweets about the Irish premier. Last November, he withdrew a tweet in which he described Mr Varadkar as "the Indian". He claimed he used the term as shorthand for the Taoiseach as he "couldn't spell his name".

Among the dozens who slammed last night's post was UUP leader Robin Swann.

He said that while the "excuse the last time was due to a restricted number of characters and being unable to spell a name - this time there is NO excuse!"

He later added: "He doesn't speak for me."

Belfast man Tony Ferris added: "You're ascribing a certain negative characteristic to someone based on their race. It's racism. Indefensible."

Others reported the peer's tweet to the authorities in the UK and in Ireland.

Dubliner Daithi de Bruin wrote: "What does the @PoliceServiceNI think of such racism?"

But the peer instead defended his tweet, adding that "the Indians are a great race".

"You fail to understand that racially he is half Indian and legally he is Irish. Some day you will learn to know the difference in these terms," he tweeted.

"Entering the UK by any foreign politician without prior notice is a royal breach of existing courtesies and in this case a total provocation of unionists. He continues to undo the good north-south relations which were created by the Belfast Agreement."

Belfast Telegraph