Belfast Telegraph

Show us your Brexit plans: Varadkar responds to Kilclooney 'Indian' tweet

'So many haven't thought this through'

By Jonathan Bell

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has responded to Lord Kilclooney's "Indian" tweet, asking the Peer what his proposals are for the trade deal between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

The Fine Gael leader was speaking on RTE's Marian Finucane show on Saturday when he was asked about the tone of attacks on him in the British press which, as well as Lord Kilclooney's tweet, referred to his inexperience and how he should "shut his gob".

"One thing I have come to understand about politics is that when people don't want to deal with you on substance and on facts they attack you personally and attack your style," he said.

"The best way to deal with it is not rise to it and go back to the substance and to ask them 18 months after the referendum 'show us your paper or your proposals' - 20 years since you started to campaign to leave the EU.

"And that makes them very annoyed and they start having a go at you personally - so many of them haven't thought this through."

Former Northern Ireland MP Lord Kilclooney, formerly John Taylor, sparked outrage when he referred to Mr Varadkar as "the Indian" last month.

The Taoiseach's father is from Mumbai and his mother born in County Waterford.

Responding to a quote from the Irish foreign minister who said he wanted to see a united Ireland in his political lifetime, Lord Kilclooney tweeted: "Simon Coveney is stirring things up . Very dangerous non statesman like role! Clearly hoping to undermine the Indian.

The peer was forced to say he wasn't racist and that he used the term as he could not spell Mr Varadkar's name. He later withdrew the tweet, but over a week on the post remained on the social network.

Kilclooney is a former unionist minister of Home Affairs, MEP, MLA and MP who quit the UUP a number of years ago to join the cross-bench group in the Lords. Having served in every level of government he made his fortune in the newspaper business.

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