Leo Varadkar just leapt to the defence of white, middle class men slap-bang in the middle of a global civil rights movement

Leo Varadkar speaking at an event

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar is being widely criticised after he jumped to the defence of white, middle class men.

The gay former Taoiseach, who currently serves as Tánaiste (deputy leader) in Ireland’s government, defended middle-class white men following a row between Fine Gael senator Barry Ward and Sinn Féin senator Lynn Boylan.

While debating legislation, Boylan told Ward that he, as a white, middle-class man, is not treated the same under the law as Travellers, members of the Roma community, and other minority groups.

Ward insisted that he knows “very well” what life is like for marginalised communities, and later hit out at Boylan in a tweet.

“I’m disappointed by the attitude from Sinn Féin that a ‘white, middle class man’, even one who has spend [sic] his professional life defending accused persons, couldn’t possibly understand what it is like for some people to go before the courts,” Ward tweeted on 2 August.

A full 10 days later, after 10.30pm last night (12 August), Varadkar shared Ward’s tweet and wrote: “If you are white, male or even worse middle-class, Sinn Féin doesn’t want you. So much for an ‘Ireland of equals’.”

Irish Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has been widely criticised for defending white, middle class men.

The Tánaiste has been widely mocked and criticised for the tweet.

He was criticised by Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon for playing into “class based politics”.

Others took the opportunity to hit out at Varadkar’s voting record, as well as his party’s approach to social issues.

Varadkar was also accused of utilising “alt-right” and “far-right” rhetoric in his tweet.

Others criticised the Tánaiste for jumping to the defence of white people when Ireland has finally begun to confront and discuss systemic racism.

Some took the opportunity to draw attention to Ireland’s homelessness crisis, as well as its much-maligned system for asylum seekers known as direct provision.

The Tánaiste was also accused of borrowing from the Donald Trump Twitter playbook. Elsewhere, others accused Varadkar of borrowing from the Donald Trump playbook.

Others just asked Varadkar to listen to what oppressed minority groups have to say.