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Sinn Fein TD Stanley in IRA tweet row cast doubt over safety of Chinese chicken meat

Controversial radio interview from start of pandemic surfaces


Apology: Oireachtas TV screengrab of Brian Stanley saying sorry for his tweet

Apology: Oireachtas TV screengrab of Brian Stanley saying sorry for his tweet


Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar


Apology: Oireachtas TV screengrab of Brian Stanley saying sorry for his tweet

Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley suggested that it could be possible to catch Covid-19 by eating chicken imported from China.

Mr Stanley made the remarks during a radio interview at the start of the pandemic in March.

The presenter told him "you've put the fear of God in people about eating chicken" and told him to back up the comments.

The Laois-Offaly TD is at the centre of controversy about a tweet he posted at the weekend about soldiers being killed and another in 2017 that included a bizarre comment referencing Tanaiste Leo Varadkar's sexuality.

Now an interview he took part in on Midlands 103 has surfaced where he makes unsubstantiated comments about the safety of chicken from China, the country where the coronavirus originated.

He told presenter Will Faulkner on The Midlands Today Show that he had learned chicken that was imported from China was being sold in shops in Portlaoise and added: "I mean, that type of stuff is unbelievable."

Mr Stanley was asked if there is a risk presented by that and he replied: "Well I don't know that."

Asked why he suggested it, he said: "I wouldn't be having it for lunch, would you?"

It was put to Mr Stanley that he had no basis of knowing if there was any danger.

Mr Stanley said: "That's exactly the type of stuff that needs to be examined. That's my point."

He said there needs to be advice from health experts telling people what is safe, and cited travel and "questions about St Patrick's Day parades".

Mr Faulkner challenged him on where he read eating chicken could lead to you contracting coronavirus.

Mr Stanley said: "I don't know that and you don't know it."

The presenter said: "But you've made that suggestion now. You've put the fear of God in people about eating chicken."

Mr Stanley said he was saying people are afraid about parades, air travel and large gatherings.

Mr Faulkner suggested he was trying to move away from what he said and he asked where he got information on chicken.

Mr Stanley said: "I've been asked a question about it by constituents." Asked if he was trying to source an answer for them, he said: "That's exactly what I'm doing today."

Mr Faulkner later told listeners that "a simple Google search" of food safety authorities around the world reveals nothing to suggest there's any evidence that you can contract coronavirus by eating chicken or any other food.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland website currently says there is no risk from food as Covid-19 is not transmitted through food or ingredients.

Meanwhile, Mr Stanley said he has "no apology to make" over a tweet about Mr Varadkar in 2017. Mr Stanley rejected accusations of homophobia over the comment he posted when the Tanaiste was elected Fine Gael leader.

It read: "Yippee 4 d tory. it's Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don't look 4 a pay rise the next morning."

Mr Stanley apologised earlier this week for a tweet sent on Saturday celebrating two historical IRA ambushes on British forces.

It was posted on the centenary of the Kilmichael ambush in 1920. He drew a parallel with that IRA attack and the Provisional IRA bombings at Narrow Water in Co Down in which 18 British soldiers were killed.

Belfast Telegraph