A newly-elected Sinn Féin parliamentarian has apologised “unreservedly and wholeheartedly” for a string of antisemitic tweets, saying that the remarks were “glib” and “off-the-cuff”.
Réada Cronin, 46, who was elected to represent Kildare North in the Dáil following the Irish general election on February 8, was found to have made a string of offensive tweets between 2012 and 2015.
The messages included comparing Israeli embassy staff to monkeys, alleging that Jeremy Corbyn had been targeted by Mossad, and retweeting a post saying that Hitler was a pawn of a Rothschild-owned bank.
Maurice Cohen, the head of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, told Jewish News that the comments were “inaccurate, antisemitic and racist” and that it was “disappointing that her offensive comments have neither been criticised nor condemned by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald”.
Ms Cronin apologised “unreservedly and wholeheartedly”, saying that the tweets were “glib” and “off-the-cuff”.
The Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the comments were “not acceptable” but that “there’s nobody sitting in the party looking at the accounts of every Sinn Féin member or gagging people in relation to what they’re saying. What is important is if it comes to our attention that these are comments that are inappropriate, that they are withdrawn and they are apologised for.”
Alan Shatter, the former Fine Gael Minister for Justice, who is also Jewish, accused Sinn Féin of “censorship” as access to Ms Cronin’s twitter feed had been blocked since the scandal emerged.
Mr Shatter called on the Irish Garda to “initiate an investigation into egregious antisemitic tweets and retweets of Reada Cronin TD as an incitement to hatred” and to ensure that the tweets were not deleted.
Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican party that in the past was identified as the political wing of the IRA, staged a political earthquake last week as Irish voters broke the traditional duopoly of the centrist Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the centre-right party of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that has held since 1923.
The Israeli Embassy in Dublin called Ms Cronin’s remarks “paranoid, hate-driven conspiracy theories".
Mr Varadkar tweeted on Wednesday that Ms Cronin’s comments were “antisemitic and anti-science” and that “this is not the change we need”.
Sinn Féin are meeting the Green Party, Solidarity People Before Profit, the Irish Labour Party, the Social Democrats, and independent TDs (MPs) as they seek to build a broad ‘left’ coalition for government.