A senator in Ireland was subjected to a torrent of online homophobic hate and abuse after an old photo of him in a speedo was resurfaced. Fintan Warfield, 29, made his social accounts private due to the abuse he received when a fringe right wing group reposted the years-old Instagram picture last week.
Peadar Toibin, leader of the fringe right wing party Aontu, tweeted the picture of Warfield taken while the young man was on holiday in Greece back in 2018. Warfield is seen standing in front of a mirror sporting a blue speedo and a yellow Pope Francis t-shirt tied into a crop top.
"Why is a Sinn Fein senator purposely seeking to offend people's religious beliefs?" the since-deleted tweet from Toibin said.
Strategist David Cochrane wanted to know why Toibin was "creeping through" Warfield's Instagram for a photograph taken in 2018.
Toibi responded that he had "never checked Fintans [sic] page" and went on to claim he believed in "pluralism" and opposed "all discrimination."
\u201c@davidcochrane @fintanwarfield I have never checked Fintans page\nI believe in pluralism. I oppose all discrimination\nEveryone should have the right to live to their full potential without fear or favour\nIt shouldn't be a zero sum game\nWe shouldn't define ourselves by offending another\nWhy the need to do that?\u201d
Since, the resurfacing of the photo as well as the homophobic vitrol that came as a result has been condemned by many online. Out has chosen not to share the image which could further exacerbate the issue.
\u201cWe 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.\u201d
— The Rainbow Project (@The Rainbow Project)
The fringe right wing Aontu Party claims to be the fastest-growing political party in Ireland. It was formed in 2019 and has currently has one member in elected office.
Warfield has been subjected to similar hate since he was first elected to office in 2016 and became the country's youngest senator. Most recently he received abuse for a speech he gave supporting trans rights for teenagers. In the past, Warfield's detractors have regularly filled his social media pages with taunts and insults.
Last month, Green Party politician Roderic O'Gorman received similar abuse when the gay man was appointed the country's children's minister in the new government. Irish actor John Connors made his opposition to O'Gorman clear on his since-deleted Twitter account saying the politician was "lauding paedophilia" and "not fit for office."
Influencer Saoirse McHugh seemed to take a more rational and level-headed view of the current situation with Warfield.
\u201c@fintanwarfield absolutely rockin a teensy pair of Speedos.... \n\nin Greece... \n\ngoing swimming....\n\nHas upset an official political party...\n\nWild\u201d