An Irish politician has provoked outrage by asking her Facebook followers whether children with special needs should be micro-chipped, alongside a photo of the late Nora Quorin.
The post, shared on independent candidate for Meath, Councillor Sharon Keogan’s Facebook campaign page on August 15, featured the controversial question alongside a picture of Nora, a disabled teenager who went missing and died in Maylasia during a family holiday that same month.
It caused an outcry among commenters, with one saying it was the most ‘outrageous and misguided question’ they had ever seen posted to social media, and Keogan has this week faced fresh criticism after it resurfaced online.
In a radio interview yesterday, she defended herself by claiming she’d been asked the question by a friend who is the father of a teenager with special needs, who was left traumatised by Nora’s sad fate.
Cllr Sharon Keogan (pictured), an independent candidate for Meath Eastr in the upcoming Irish General Election landed herself in hot water after a post from August 2019 where she asked whether non-verbal children with disabilities should be micro-shipped with GPSs
Keogan shared the controversial question alongside a picture of 15-year-old teen Nora Quoirin, who died in Maylasia after going missing during her family’s holiday in a resort. Nora had mental and physical disabilities, according to her parents
The post, which resurfaced on social media this week, was originally posted in August, after a father to a disabled child as Keogan to share it on Facebook
‘Absolutely not! No human should ever be chipped or “branded” and I can’t believe politicians are pushing this agenda under whatever false disguise,’ another wrote.
‘I disagree with this. Children with special needs should not be microchipped. We are not pets,’ one said.
‘The fact that you would even suggest this says an awful lot about you. What a disgraceful thing to suggest. Really really disappointing. Honestly, floored by your ignorance. I am a mother to three children with autism,’ a fellow critic wrote.
In the post alongside Nora’s picture, Keogan wrote: ‘This was a tragic end for this family, but should children with special needs who have poor ability to communicate be micro-chipped with GPS?
Keogan (pictured) said the question was not disrespectful and that never had meant to offend anyone
In an apology shared on Facebook yesterday, Keogan explained she wanted to widen the dialogue on children’s disability, and that her post from August had been taken out of context
‘This has been asked of me by a parent of a teenager with no verbal skills! What do you think? Please discuss,’ she went on.
Alongside her words, Keogan shared a picture of Nora Quoirin, 15, who had at the time had just been found dead, after being reported missing by her family during their stay at the Dusun eco-resort in the southern state of Negeri Sembilan.
Nora had learning, physical and mental disabilities, according to her parents.
The Irish Sun reported that Keogan defended her decision to share the question while speaking to the Micheal Reade Show on LMFM yesterday.
‘I have always been a voice for those who are voiceless and I did that and you can see some of the comments on it, it was respectful,’ she said.
‘I didn’t make any comment on it whatsoever, I didn’t agree with it or disagree with it because I am not going to make judgement on it for any parent who has a child who is non-verbal.
‘I admire those parents with children with abilities and disabilities. I’ve great admiration for them.
A picture of Nora Quoirin, who died in Malaysia after going missing for ten days during her family’s holiday
‘At the end of the day we have to walk in their shoes to understand the struggles of their daily life that they have in coping with and dealing with very special children.’
In a response post written yesterday on Facebook, the general election candidate said: ‘In August 2019, a father of a child with special needs who is non verbal, contacted me to ask if I would post a topic for discussion on my Facebook page.
‘He was distraught following the disappearance of Nora Quoirin, as his child goes missing regularly.
‘He asked if I would open a dialogue to a wider audience in light of what had happened to Nora.
Some people the question was offensive whether it was taken out of context or not, and stressed that Keogan had been wrong to share it
‘He asked if I would post the following question on my page “should children with special needs who have poor ability to communicate be micro-chipped with GPS,” she added.
The Meath East candidate also apologised, saying: ‘I understand this is a very sensitive subject and I am sorry if the post has caused offence.
‘My intention was to support a member of the community who asked for my help. I have supported this family and their child since he was 3 years of age.
‘I would never do anything to intentionally offend, she said.
However, her explanation failed to convinced some outraged followers, who said the question was offensive, whether it was presented with the right context or not.