The ‘impulsive joke’ tweet that caused Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan three years of ‘torture’

Flanagan's former assistant Diarmuid Hayes now admits posting the message on Twitter

Listen | 18:40

Months after he stopped working for Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan in Brussels, his former parliamentary assistant logged into the MEP’s X account and tweeted: “Sapirse mchugh photo skinny dipping”.

It was, he told a court in Brussels, an “impulsive joke” made late one night after smoking cannabis.

Joke or not, the post caused huge damage to Flanagan’s reputation.

But why did Hayes do it?


Irish Times Europe correspondent Naomi O’Leary explains the background to this peculiar case, while Jack Power reports from the court where Belgian prosecutors sought a one-year prison sentence for Hayes.

Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Declan Conlon.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast