Couple featured in Lidl ad considering leaving Ireland after being subject to abuse 1 month ago

Couple featured in Lidl ad considering leaving Ireland after being subject to abuse

“We need change and we feel like it's our duty to help that happen in Ireland.”

A couple from Meath say they are considering leaving Ireland as a result of abuse they have been subjected to after appearing in an ad campaign for Lidl.

Fiona Ryan and her fiancé Jonathan Mathis, a mixed-race couple from Meath, appear in an ad campaign alongside their 22-month-old son, a campaign that has been featured on television and on billboards throughout the country, starting this month.

The couple have since been subjected to abuse online, abuse which included a tweet from former journalist Gemma O’Doherty reading: “German dump @lidl_ireland gaslighting the Irish people with their multicultural version of ‘The Ryans’. Kidding no-one! Resist the Great Replacement wherever you can by giving this kip a wide berth. #ShopIrish #BuyIrish.”

The tweet was subsequently removed by Twitter for violating its standards after it was reported by Lidl, who posted the following on their own Twitter account.

Speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday, Fiona Ryan said she was shaking when she first saw the tweet by Gemma O’Doherty, having been alerted to it in a phone call from the producer of the television commercial.

“When I first saw it, I was shaking... I couldn't believe that someone would take a picture of us and look at it negatively,” Ryan said.

After the abuse escalated on Twitter, Ryan collated the abusive tweets and approached the Gardaí and said she needed to be persistent about the threat it caused to her and her family.

“I had to insist like four times that this was an attack on my family,” she added.

As a result of the experience, Ryan says she and her fiancé are considering leaving Ireland, saying that if her 22-month-old son grows up in a country “that doesn't protect his human civil right to be who he is, then of course I'm not going to live and stand in a country that does that to my child”.

Ryan said that her fiancé Jonathan was very hurt that their child was brought into the abuse, adding: “We need change and we feel like it's our duty to help that happen in Ireland.”

You can listen to the interview in full here.