Limerick councillor Stephen Keary, a local leader in Prime Minister Varadkar’s party, came under fire for racial remarks directed towards Eastern European immigrants.
Said Keary, “People have come here from Eastern Europe for the handouts. It has become a huge problem”. Keary is slated to become mayor of Limerick as a member of Fine Gael, so the comment comes at a critical time.
Members of the Solidarity and Labour parties have accused Varadkar of “emboldening” Fine Gael’s reactionary wing.
Keary defended his remarks, saying: “When a person from another country comes into our country without work, and who has never worked before, they do it for the social welfare benefit and all the trimmings which go with it.”
Interesting to see the racial dynamics play out in Ireland – where Eastern Europeans are seen as the underclass, and Varadkar’s elevation to the highest office in the land is seen as giving cover to racially-driven attacks coming from within his own party.