'new low' | 

Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin slammed after tweeting mock-up of gardai in forced eviction

Mr Ó Broin has defended the tweet saying it is ‘intended as a criticism of Government policy, not the Gardaí’

Eoin O'Broin© Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Hugh O'ConnellIndependent.ie

A Garda representative body has criticised a tweet by Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin that depicts gardaí policing a forced eviction.

Mr Ó Broin tweeted a mock-up of an eviction taking place with photoshopped images of masked gardaí assisting with the forced removal of an individual from a thatched cottage.

The artwork, created by artist Mála Spíosraí, draws heavily on a historic painting of Irish people being forcibly evicted in the 19th century. Mr Ó Broin has defended the tweet saying it is “intended as a criticism of Government policy, not the Gardaí”.

Ó Broin, the Sinn Féin housing spokesperson, posted the image in a tweet just after lunchtime on Saturday with the caption: “No words needed.”

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It comes on the day that the no fault eviction ban has officially expired amid fears that thousands of tenants face eviction in the coming weeks and months.

The tweet has, however, caused a significant backlash online.

Antoinette Cunningham, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, tweeted: “Deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate tweet..and this from an elected representative!!!…how insultingly wrong to portray [An Garda Síochána].”

Without linking to Mr Ó Broin’s tweet, Justice Minister Simon Harris posted on Saturday evening: “Today’s social media post by a leading member of the main opposition party shows what they really think of the Gardai.

“The mask slips. It’s offensive, inappropriate and disrespectful to the men and women of An Garda Siochana.”

Several Fine Gael politicians have also criticised the tweet by Mr Ó Broin with Senator Regina Doherty describing it as “a new low for you Eoin”.

Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell said: “Eoin o Broin should apologise and delete his tweet. Utterly pathetic, immature behaviour. It’s this sort of throw away commentary that causes real harm.”

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin tweeted: “We all make mistakes on here. Easy solution - delete the tweet, apologise and we all move on. [An Garda Síochána] deserve better than this & I suspect Eoin realises that.”

Contacted on Saturday, Mr Ó Broin told Independent.ie: “The image is a reworking of a 19th century painting of a famine era eviction by Dublin artist Mála Spíosarí.

"It depicts a private security company carrying out an eviction with the Gardaí observing. “That is what happens in cases of a court ordered eviction.

"The tweet is intended as a criticism of Government policy, not the Gardaí.”

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