Local Young Fine Gael back Kilkenny President in controversy over right-wing conference visit
BY COLIN BARTLEY
YOUNG Fine Gael(YFG) Kilkenny is backing their under-fire national President and fellow Kilkenny man in a row over his attendance at a right-wing conference in the USA.
YFG President Killian Foley Walsh attended the Young America Foundation (YAF) conference in Washington DC last week, where political figures such as Vice-President Mike Pence and defeated Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke.
In the wake of his recent visit, members within Fine Gael have called on him to resign as President of YFG.
Foley Walsh attended the YAF conference, whose aim is to sculpt the next generation of right-wing and conservative influencers in the USA. Many of YAF’s members are against same sex-marriage and abortion.
Mr Foley Walsh courted controversy after being selected as the President of YFG last year, over highly controversial “coat-hangers and stairs” tweet he made about abortion.
This morning the committee of Kilkenny YFG came out to support Foley Walsh in the face of escalating criticism within the Fine Gael party.
In a tweet, the Kilkenny YFG said: “The Committee of Kilkenny YFG wishes to place on the record it’s complete support for YFG President Killian Foley-Walsh and Social Media Officer Chloe Kennedy. We condemn the targeted smear campaign which has been directed against them by several media outlets and Public Reps”
The tweet has received much support online.
But many in Fine Gael are not as supportive. Newly elected Midlands North West MEP, Maria Walsh is calling for his resignation while many YFG groups such as Trinity’s and Dublin City University’s group are supporting that call.
The YAF has weighed in on the controversy and fired a broadside at both politicians and the media in Ireland, with a spokesperson calling them both ‘pathetic.’
Speaking on behalf of the YAF, Spencer Brown said; “The fact that Members of European Parliament or leaders from Ireland would attack a group of students for striving to broaden their intellectual horizons and learn from some of America’s leading decision-makers is pathetic.
“These students—and all those who took time out of their summer to learn and engage in a true free and open exchange of ideas—ought to be applauded, not demonized or threatened. Furthermore, the attempts by Irish media to sling baseless accusations and politicize a tragedy in the United States is disgusting.”