The View from The Ditch: 'If Taoiseach, I would assassinate scientists working on Belfast's nuclear programme' – Fine Gael councillor

Fine Gael councillor Ted Leddy’s Taoiseach war games

Just last month Leo Varadkar’s constituency ally Ted Leddy was forced to apologise after “insensitive and offensive” tweets about homeless people and welfare recipients resurfaced on Twitter.

These old tweets however aren’t the Fine Gael Fingal county councillor’s only cause for embarrassment online. There’s his blog too – titled Gubu World – which is exactly how the third letter in that acronym, GUBU, puts it: bizarre.

In a 2012 blog post titled If Johnny Adair had a nuclear weapon, Leddy imagined a loyalist coup leading to former UDA paramilitary Johnny Adair being installed as “the new dictator of Northern Ireland”. He went on to discuss a situation where the Adair regime develops nuclear capability and Leddy, as Taoiseach, is forced to act. “I would send covert teams into Northern Ireland to assassinate the nuclear scientists working on Belfast's nuclear programme and if possible Adair himself”, wrote Leddy, continuing:

“I would develop an aerial capability to destroy Northern Ireland's nuclear sites and if necessary to bomb all significant military and economic targets in order to destroy the North's capability to conduct war. I wouldn't give a damn if anyone thought I was a war monger. I would do whatever was necessary to prevent my country from being nuked.”

In another 2011 blog post on the subject of Osama Bin Laden’s death, Leddy indicates his support for waterboarding as an interrogation technique in certain circumstances. "In the rare and extreme situation (like something from an episode of 24)", Leddy wrote that “on the President’s authorisation.. enhanced interrogation should be permitted where saving lives and not getting pleasure from kicking someone you hate in the groin is the clear objective”.

Thankfully for us all, in his role as an elected councillor for the Castleknock ward of Fingal County Council, Leddy does not have access to the Oval Office’s mythical red button.

He probably watches too much American political dramas though (like most of Fine Gael, to be fair).

Worthy cause, shame about the spokesperson

With Davy Fitzgerald stepping down as Wexford hurling manager today, the GAA has for now lost a figure willing to speak candidly about the effects of bullying. The traditionally patriarchal and, perhaps reductively, masculine organisation has lost one of its few people who talk about this kind of thing – but only in certain circumstances.

In a 2014 speech at the Limerick Institute of Technology, Ireland’s Fittest Family presenter Fitzgerald spoke about his experience of childhood bullying. "I went home with a black eye and bruised ribs. I never told my mam or dad anything. To this day I don't understand bullying. I cannot understand how people are so insensitive. I cannot understand how you would single someone out and do that. It just doesn't make sense," he said, adding that bullying is “something (he) cannot tolerate”.

Commendable stuff, given Fitzgerald’s standing in the GAA and given the influence wielded by the organisation in both Irish society and on the young people in its care. Anti-bullying in the GAA: a worthy cause – what a shame though that Fitzgerald was the spokesperson.

In 2015 when Fitzgerald was manager of the Clare hurlers, two of his players, Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell, left the squad because of the punishment they were subjected to by Fitzgerald. O’Halloran, a junior member of the squad, had been caught on a night out – catching players out for insignificant infractions like this being a favourite pastime of paternalistic GAA managers the breadth of the country, of course.  

O’Halloran told The Irish Times he was forced to train alone for three weeks and forbidden from speaking to any of his teammates – a humiliating experience, he said at the time. He wrote a letter to Fitzgerald explaining his decision to leave the panel and asked his captain to read it to the squad. Fitzgerald however, O’Halloran claimed, ripped the letter to pieces.

“A lot of the lads aren’t happy – see lads are too scared to stand up to him,” said O’Halloran.

Fitzgerald declined to comment at the time, but has been back on his anti-bullying kick, telling The 42 this July that the abuse he’s been subjected to this year has made it the toughest he’s had in the GAA. As Wexford football manager and former footballer of the year Paul Galvin has said, Fitzgerald “loves to play the victim when it suits him”.

Maybe he’s a traditional GAA man after all.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors