Young Fine Gael and the media


Sir, – Not for the first time, I was surprised to read Kathy Sheridan’s column to find that she has a bone to pick with me. In “Whither the proud Irish Trump fans now?” (Opinion & Analysis, January 13th), your columnist invoked my apparently infamous trip to a Young America’s Foundation conference addressed by Mike Pence in Washington in August 2019 while I was president of Young Fine Gael. In recalling my trip and the coverage that followed it, Kathy Sheridan writes, “Much of the reaction comprised sympathy for the young politico caught in the headlights, concern for the sacred values of free speech and free association and solemn reminders of the many strands of American Republicanism.” Unfortunately, I have a different recollection.

“Anger as Fine Gael youth leader attends US right-wing conference” and “MEP calls for Fine Gael Youth president to resign over trip to right-wing conference” reported the Irish Independent.

“The rise of the far right is built on hate and fear”, said an Irish Examiner editorial.

“Split in Young Fine Gael after president attends right-wing US conference”, alleged The Irish Times, and “Killian Foley-Walsh should shut up and listen” bellowed Kathy Sheridan herself in her column two weeks later.

Lapses in memory are to be expected almost two years after the controversy, but if that represented Kathy Sheridan sympathising with me, I doubt The Irish Times could print anything she’d write criticising me! – Yours, etc,