George Hook heavily criticised for comments amidst deportation row 2 years ago

George Hook heavily criticised for comments amidst deportation row

Hook is no stranger to controversy.

George Hook has come under fire for comments on Twitter about Eric Zhi Ying Xue, a young boy from Bray facing potential deportation, despite being born in Ireland and living his entire life here.

Hook made the comments in response to a Twitter post on Thursday from Health Minister Simon Harris, who said that he stood with Eric Zhi Ying Xue and had made representations in an effort to prevent his deportation.

On Friday, in response, Hook tweeted: "With trolly (sic) numbers at world record levels, Minister Simon Harris, is worried about a Chinese boy!!"

Hook's comments drew a strong reaction, with one Twitter user saying: "Jesus George, that’s a disgraceful statement. This boy is Irish, he was born here and has never lived anywhere else."

Hook responded by saying that the issue was a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan and not Simon Harris.

Aodhán Ó Riordáin and Senator Catherine Noone, meanwhile, also added their voices to the criticism of the broadcaster.

In subsequent tweets, Hook went onto hit out at politicians whinging about Ireland's citizenship laws, which were the subject of a referendum as recently as 2004.

On Friday afternoon, Simon Harris himself responded by saying that he would "never apologise" for standing up for a young boy in his constituency and that he was "honoured to do it".

Eric Zhi Ying Xue, despite being born and living his entire life in Ireland, can legally be deported as a result of a referendum that took place in 2004, where the people of Ireland voted to tighten our citizenship laws.

Ireland voted with a 79.17% majority to stop children being born here having immediate citizenship in Ireland.

Eric's mother is a Chinese citizen, but Eric is not - meaning he will not enjoy the rights of a Chinese citizen in China if deported.

His school, St. Cronan's in Bray has set up a public petition in order to pressure the government into reversing its decision to deport the child.

The controversy surrounding Hook's comments comes just over a year after he was suspended by Newstalk for on-air comments about a rape case in the UK last year; he later returned to the station as part of its weekend schedule.

Newstalk have refused to comment on Hook's comments in this case.