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Sinn Féin councillor apologises after remarks about Taoiseach's 'Indian blood' criticised

Leo Varadkar said this evening Paddy Holohan’s apology was “good enough for him”.

File photo. Paddy Holohan.
File photo. Paddy Holohan.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SINN FÉIN COUNCILLOR and former MMA fighter Paddy Holohan has apologised after remarks he made about the Taoiseach’s heritage and family status were criticised.

The South Dublin councillor recently made the comments on separate episodes of his podcast ‘No Shame’, which emerged yesterday.

During an interview with Ibrahim Halawa which was published earlier this week, Holohan said he believed a “family man with children” would be best equipped to run the country because it would give them a better understanding of certain policies.

On a previous episode of the podcast, he also said that Leo Varadkar was “separated from society” because of his heritage.

He said:

Leo Varadkar’s blood obviously runs to India. His great-grandfather is not part of the history of this country. Now Leo obviously is.
He’s an Irish citizen but his passion doesn’t go back to the times when our passion goes back to.

He clarified that he was “for immigration” and “bringing people into the country”, and later expressed support for immigrants during the interview with Halawa, describing perceived problems with immigration as “a rumour”.

“We’re not broke because there’s immigrants coming into this country. That is a rumour… we’re broke because we’ve been mismanaged to benefit the elites. Profit, that’s what they want.”

The comments related to the Taoiseach’s heritage were criticised widely on social media today.

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams told TheJournal.ie earlier today: “Well I haven’t heard that directly obviously if Paddy has misspoke he needs to correct it.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Holohan said: “Firstly, I would like to apologise as my comments may have offended people as I of course did not intend to do so.

My comments have been misinterpreted and not in any way meant the way they have been portrayed.
Thank you to the people that know me and have supported me. And understand that I would never make such remarks. 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, meanwhile, told reporters this afternoon: “These were Paddy’s remarks and he has apologised.” She said the party had insisted on an apology.

This evening, the Taoiseach told reporters he heard that Holohan had apologised and that it was “good enough for him”. 

With reporting from Sean Murray, Christina Finn

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