MEP Mick Wallace may have a record of tax “dodging”. However, going by his behaviour and statements on social media, he’s rather less likely to “dodge” contradictory views or to avoid positions that are seemingly irreconcilable.
In a number of recent tweets such as this one, he expressed concern that the European Union (EU) didn’t pay sufficient attention to the human rights of Palestinians. Yet, when the Belarusian democracy and human rights activist, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya addressed the European Parliament, he grilled her with repeatedly hostile questions and tried to divert the debate from the Belarus regime onto other issues such as the case of Julian Assange.
He has called Tikhanovskaya a “pawn of the West” and referred to her dismissively as the “Guaidó of eastern Europe”, a reference to Juan Guaidó, a Venezuelan politician who opposes the Maduro regime in his country. He has also expressed support for Maduro, whose forces engage in torture and extrajudicial executions.
He advocates for equal rights for LGBT people and was one of many members of the Oireachtas who openly supported a yes vote during the same sex marriage referendum in 2015. Yet, he turned up at the Iranian embassy in Dublin in February 2019 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the seizure of power by the Islamist regime, a regime that routinely executes gay people simply for being gay.
He opposes sanctions against Iran and Belarus, insisting that they “hurt the people” even though in the case of Belarus, the sanctions are only aimed at thirty one senior officials in the regime. However, he has tweeted approvingly of the BDS movement and he supports a boycott of Israel (which would hurt ordinary Israelis and indeed Palestinians). He has also wondered about starting a BDS movement targeting the USA.
If there’s any consistency to be seen in the above melange of views, it’s that the more democratic and western a government is, the more likely it is that Wallace will criticise it. And there’s no “dodging” the fact that the more dictatorial and brutal it is, the more he seems to be drawn to defend it.
By Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh