Freedom Party chairman condemns ‘scurrilous’ remarks

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Irish Freedom Party Chairman Michael Leahy

IRISH Freedom Party (IFP) chairman Michael Leahy has called on Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe to withdraw “false, unwarranted and scurrilous” remarks he made in the Dáil.

Speaking to the Limerick Post this week, Mr Leahy hit out at comments made by the Meelick-based politician who claimed that the Irish Freedom Party “practices hate messaging and it is how it operates”.

The IFP chairman challenged Deputy Crowe to give a single example of any official statement of the Irish Freedom Party which in any way promotes hate or advocates undue discrimination against anyone.

“Mr Crowe referred to ‘inciting hatred’ in the same context and seemed to rejoice in the fact that the Irish Freedom Party will have ‘less right to make their statements’ after the Dáil signs up to the EU council proposal on ‘hate speech’ as ‘it will be illegal’.

“This is an astonishing attack against a registered political party, and is also remarkable in that it rejoices in the proposal to outlaw legitimate political discourse,” Mr Leahy commented.

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“Does Fianna Fáil, the party of Eamon De Valera, the primary author of our splendid constitution, now genuinely believe that it is licit to ban the expression of the legitimate opinions of their opponents?

“Mr Crowe seems to suggest that merely mentioning such issues as emigration or gender issues in a manner outside the government narrative is sufficient to be accused of hate speech. The very concept of ‘hate speech’ with its Orwellian overtones has no place in a democratic society.

“Mr Crowe should either stand up his absurd claims against our party or have the good grace to withdraw them. It is also important that we should have a full debate on the government’s proposed ‘hate speech’ legislation and the chilling effect it will have on free speech, journalism and on open politics,” he added.

Deputy Crowe said he had no further comment to make.