A gay senator in Ireland has put his social media accounts on private after he was subjected to “blatantly homophobic” abuse from a right-wing political party.
Socially conservative political party Aontú, which was formed in 2019 and has just one elected representative, shared a photograph of gay Sinn Féin senator Fintan Warfield, which was taken from his personal Instagram account.
The photo showed Warfield wearing a Speedo along with a t-shirt bearing a picture of Pope Francis.
“Why is a Sinn Féin senator purposely seeking to offend people’s religious beliefs?” the tweet said.
Aontú deleted the tweet on 31 July following a barrage of criticism, with many accusing the party of targeting Warfield because of his sexuality.
Irish right-wing party Aontú faced a barrage of criticism for tweeting personal photo of Sinn Féin senator Fintan Warfield.
Twitter user Stephen Todd tweeted: “The attacks on Fintan Warfield are founded in blatant homophobia. Nothing more, nothing less. One of the most inspiring young men I know.”
The attacks on Fintan Warfield are founded in blatant homophobia. Nothing more, nothing less. One of the most inspiring young men I know. Fantastic advocate for young people in the Oireachtas. Proud to call him a comrade 💪
— Stephen Todd (@UbuntuLad) July 31, 2020
Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley tweeted: “Fintan Warfield is sound, takes on being a public figure without conforming, and doesn’t deserve the tar being flung at him. Can the homophobes get a new hobby?”
Meanwhile, Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal praised Warfield, calling him a “friend” as well as a “fierce campaigner”.
“These homophobic attacks won’t deter him. The absolute state of yiz..trawling his insta like the creepy obsessives you are,” she added.
Fintan Warfield is sound, takes on being a public figure without conforming, and doesn’t deserve the tar being flung at him. Can the homophobes get a new hobby?
Alliance councillor in Northern Ireland Eóin Tennyson tweeted: “LGBT+ people have long been accused of seeking to ‘offend people’s religious beliefs’ by merely existing. Solidarity, Fintan Warfield. Openly gay public reps are going nowhere (and Speedos with tied up t-shirts are a lewk whatever Aontú think).”
Countless others showed their support and love for Warfield on Twitter.
We are deeply concerned at the recent trend of online harassment of gay male politicians in the Republic. We express our solidarity with those affected and call on the Irish Govt to condemn this abuse and ensure LGBT+ politicians can do their jobs in safety.
— The Rainbow Project (@TRPNI) July 31, 2020
Does Aontú receive state funding? Surely a state funded political party trawling through a reps private a/c to post 2 yr old pictures of them in their underwear breaks all sorts of rules. If it doesn’t it should. We all know why Aontù are targetting @fintanwarfield. Solidarity ✊ https://t.co/A8IlHAKajp
— Clare O Connor (@ClareOC_) July 31, 2020
Disgrace and shame on Aontú targeting @fintanwarfield . Fintan is a senator who’s been working full time on LGBTQI rights, so needed in Ireland in these times. We need more Fintans in the world.
Solidarity, comrádaí 🔻✊🏽
— Nerea F.C🔻 #EndDP (@nereafercor) July 31, 2020
I see the far right got bored with Roderic O’Gorman and have now moved onto yet another gay politician, this time it’s from my party, Fintan Warfield. Will they ever take a day off 🙄 #sinnféin #altshite
— Christine Ní Mhathúna💃🏽🇮🇪🇵🇸🏳️🌈 (@christineomg5) July 29, 2020
Solidarity with Fintan Warfield, who, like Roderic O’Gorman, is being targeted by a homophobic far right smear campaign
The far right in Ireland is at the moment still a small, cowardly thing, but it must be stamped out nonetheless
— The Foggy Jew (@HMcEvansoneya) July 31, 2020
I’m incredibly proud to be in the same party as @fintanwarfield He is a true republican, a campaigner for equality, social justice & Irish unity. He’s also got a pretty dapper dress sense which is never a bad thing in the often drab surrounds of Leinster House. pic.twitter.com/qm1FBG45Nz
— Eoin Ó Broin (@EOBroin) July 31, 2020
Know it shouldn’t need said, and mindful against giving any more time to their views, but it is a disgrace that Fintan Warfield is now the second politician in the space of a month to face a well-organised campaign of abuse online by the Irish right because of the fact he is gay.
— James Rooney (@James_Rooney_93) July 31, 2020
Solidarity with Senator @fintanwarfield a fanstasic representative for people who are too often marginalised and ignored.
Unfortunately now caught up in the same homophobic vitriol that was whipped up and platformed a few weeks ago.
— David Field (@davidjjfield) July 31, 2020
The far right have set their stall out clearly, and definitely.
If you’re an LGBTQ+ person, in public or political life, they want you gone – stay in the closet, abandon your career, or else.
— Queer Greens / Glasa Aiteacha (@GlasaAiteacha) July 31, 2020
@fintanwarfield absolutely rockin a teensy pair of Speedos….
Has upset an official political party…
— Saoirse McHugh (@saoirse_mchugh) July 31, 2020
A chara and comrade @fintanwarfield getting some hateful messages today.
These people couldn’t lace his boots when it comes to fighting and legislating for real progressive changes.
Not to mention you’re also some singer mo chara ♥️
— Matthew Widaw (@matthewwidaw) July 31, 2020
Solidarity with my comrade @fintanwarfield
While some troll & tweet poison he’s busy advancing republican & progressive issues inside & outside the #Seanad
Hate won’t deter him. Hate won’t stop him. Hate won’t beat him. Tá muid leat Finto. pic.twitter.com/4ez8SlpyXQ
— Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile ⭕️ (@NiallSF) July 31, 2020
Following backlash, Aontú lashed out at “intolerance” in Irish society on Twitter.
“We need a society where people can live and let live,” the political party tweeted. “Where people do not have to hide their sexuality or their religion.
“Intolerance against either is wrong and should be called out no matter where it originates.
“There cannot be differing standards.”
PinkNews has contacted Aontú and Sinn Féin for comment.
Gay Green Party children’s minister has also faced similar abuse from Ireland’s far-right in recent weeks.
The attacks on Warfield come just weeks after Ireland’s far-right was whipped into a frenzy when gay Green Party TD Roderic O’Gorman was appointed minister for children.
Some of the country’s far right quickly unearthed a photo of O’Gorman with Peter Tatchell at Dublin Pride in 2018 and accused the British LGBT+ activist of promoting paedophilia.
They went on to claim that O’Gorman was not fit for office because of his “links” with Tatchell.
A rally, called “Hands Off Our Kids”, was later organised by Love/Hate actor John Connors, which called for O’Gorman to resign.
Connors later issued an apology for his role in stoking far-right hate against O’Gorman.