Founding members of conservative student publication the Burkean have called on the paper’s Editor, Michael O’Dwyer Connolly, to resign over an article he wrote that has been roundly condemned for promoting racism and eugenics.
In an email statement to The University Times, eight former members of the publication – including the paper’s first Editor, Guillermo Dillion – condemned the article, entitled “Not All Are Born Equal”, that was published on the Burkean’s website at the weekend.
“It is shocking”, they said, “that the editor of the Burkean would write an article so utterly repugnant to Burke’s ideals”.
“As founders, former editorial board members, and writers of the Burkean Journal we call on Michael O’Dwyer Connolly to resign as editor of the publication.”
They said the article “propagates the pseudo-scientific and morally reprehensible position of racial superiority”.
“This article is an insult to millions who have suffered and continue to suffer due to theories of racial superiority”, the statement added.
As well as Dillion, the statement was signed by Louis Hoffman, the paper’s former Deputy Editor, and Micheál Ganley, the son of Declan Ganley and a former member of the publication’s editorial board.
None of the statement’s signatories have any current involvement in the publication.
The publication of O’Dwyer Connolly’s article sparked furious debate on Twitter over the weekend, with several prominent conservatives – including John McGuirk and Declan Ganley – launching an attack on the article and some calling on O’Dwyer Connolly to resign.
McGuirk, the former director of communications of the save the 8th campaign, called the article “utterly despicable” in a tweet.
“No website that publishes this kind of garbage represents any “centre right” that I recognise. You insult and abuse the name of Burke”, he said.
Ganley, who initially gave a small loan to the Burkean to help get it up and running, said in a tweet: “This is a disappointing piece that years from now you’ll regret & I expect will understand was erroneous. I’m 50 years old & have been around the block a few times. My suggestion is you think about deleting it as soon as you can & chalk it up to experience.”
O’Dwyer Connolly thanked Ganley for his feedback, but said that “there is nothing in it that is not backed by research, and to take down an article merely because some are uncomfortable with it (for whatever reason) is not in keeping with journalistic integrity”.
Howth-Malahide independent Councillor Keith Redmond, who is a former member of Renua, called for O’Dwyer Connolly’s resignation in a tweet: “This is an all too familiar trap to fall into. Racism and eugenics infiltrates the Right and Left. It’s a human failing, an affliction that is cancerous to any movement. @TheBurkeanIE needs to remove that guy from a position of influence. Sad.”
Paddy Manning, a conservative commentator who came to prominence as a gay man who opposed marriage equality, also called for O’Dwyer Connolly’s resignation. “He’s an unsuitable editor of a good journal. He should go”, Manning tweeted.
In an email statement to The University Times, O’Dwyer Connolly defended the publication of the article, which, he said, “specifically calls for the recognition and celebration of human difference”.
“I don’t think the criticism is well founded. Much of it was ad-hominem and baseless. However I welcome their freedom to express their views”, he said. O’Dwyer Connolly also said that he and the Burkean had received a “massive outpouring of support” in the wake of the article.
He went on: “I think what this event signifies is that firstly; people have an appetite for the truth and for fresh ideas – but also that the Conservative old guard have failed Ireland and now people want something new. We aim to be that something.”
The Burkean Journal was established in 2017 in Trinity by a small group of writers, who aimed to “promote conservative ideas on campus” in response to “sterile” College debate. It went on to expand nationally to the campuses of Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin (UCD), where O’Dwyer Connolly currently studies.
The journal subsequently rebranded itself as the Burkean.