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'Inaccurate, anti-Semitic and racist': Jewish Council condemns newly-elected Sinn Féin TD's 'offensive' tweets

Réada Cronin has apologised for her tweets, saying she never intended to cause hurt or distress.

Réada Cronin, centre, alongside Mary Lou McDonald in 2016.
Réada Cronin, centre, alongside Mary Lou McDonald in 2016.
Image: Rollingnews.ie/Sinn Fein

Updated Feb 19th 2020, 4:18 PM

A SINN FÉIN TD who apologised for controversial remarks she made on Twitter before she was an elected representative will not face further disciplinary action from the party. 

Speaking in Dublin this morning, the party’s director of elections Pearse Doherty TD said that the comments by Kildare North TD Réada Cronin were “not in keeping with Sinn Féin’s policies”. 

“I haven’t seen the comments from Réada,” he said. “But I do understand that Réada made some of those comments before she was even a member of Sinn Féin [and] I understand that she has unreservedly withdrawn those comments and apologised for them, and I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Doherty said that the party has guidelines for how members and elected representatives use social media.

“Let’s be clear,” he said. “There’s nobody sitting in the party looking at the accounts of every single Sinn Féin member or gagging people in relation to what they’re saying.”

“What is important is that if it comes to our attention that there are comments that are inappropriate that they are withdrawn, that they are apologised for, and that it is clear that they are not in keeping with Sinn Féin’s policy.”

The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland acknowledged Doherty’s comments but said it is “disappointing” that Cronin’s offensive remarks have not been condemned by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. 

“The various tweets from Sinn Féin TD Réada Cronin are inaccurate, anti-Semitic and racist,” said Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland. 

Unfortunately, too many people in Ireland have an opinion on everything, whether or not they have any knowledge of the particular subject on which they are commenting.

“Due to this lack of knowledge, the term Nazism is bandied around in Ireland without knowing that it was, amongst other things, the premeditated, industrialised slaughter of six million Jews and many others, that didn’t suit the Nazi Regime.” 

‘Should trouble us all’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also condemned Cronin’s social media comments in which she is reported to have criticised Israel, suggested Irish judges could be paedophiles and repeated conspiracy theories about fluoride in water. 

Some of the controversial remarks, made in tweets by Cronin over the last several years, were reported yesterday by the website Gript. 

The Sunday Times also reported at the weekend that Cronin had accused the Israeli secret service Mossad of “sinister” interference in the UK election. 

Varadkar tweeted the remarks of the new Sinn Féin TD “should trouble us all”. This is not the kind of change we need,” he added.

Cronin was elected a TD in Kildare North in the general election and is a former councillor on Kildare County Council. 

The Sunday Times reported that Cronin had claimed Mossad had intervened to secure the defeat of the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.

In other tweets, reported by Gript, she repeatedly criticised Israel, and also retweeted a statement linking Hitler to the Rothschild family. 

She also said that European wars were funded by banks run by European royal families.

The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland has called on Sinn Féin and other political parties to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, as “a little education on what constitutes anti-Semitism would go a long way to correcting this problem”.

“The definition has been adopted by most countries in Europe and as Ireland is already a signatory to the IHRA we have de facto accepted it. It is now up to our politicians to adhere to it.”

Cronin has now locked her Twitter account, which was set up in 2011. 

In a statement reported by several media outlets Cronin said: 

“Some old tweets, most from before joining Sinn Féin and entering politics, have come to my attention.

“I apologise unreservedly and wholeheartedly to people I have offended because of these glib, off the cuff tweets that I sent in the past. I never intended to cause hurt or distress to anyone,” she said. 

“I will assist and work with everybody, without qualification. I abhor racism and bigotry of any shade. My character and my politics are Republican and egalitarian.”

As a public representative, I am elected to deal with the issues my constituents have raised with me and also the national issues of homelessness, housing, health, childcare and the myriad of issues that have been raised with me. I am committed to this work.

The newly-elected TD did not respond to a call and text from TheJournal.ie today. 

This isn’t the first controversy regarding a Sinn Féin TD since the election. Waterford TD David Cullinane was forced to defend shouting “Up the Ra” in a celebration after he topped the poll in the constituency.

With reporting by Christina Finn and Adam Daly 

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