Tuesday 19 September 2017

Councillor 'reduced to tears' by vicious bullying

Killarney councillor Niall O'Callaghan says he has been targeted by a campaign of internet and text message bullying. Eamonn Keogh
Killarney councillor Niall O'Callaghan says he has been targeted by a campaign of internet and text message bullying. Eamonn Keogh

A TOWN councillor has spoken of how he was "reduced to tears" by a vicious bullying campaign against him on the internet and by text message.

Independent Killarney councillor Niall 'Botty' O'Callaghan says if he were a weaker man he would have "ended up in a lake" by now.

Father-of-two Mr O'Callaghan (44) learnt he was the subject of the cruel text messages when he was contacted by a friend who showed him one of the offensive texts.

He has already reported it to the gardai and sought legal advice.

He said his name was on an adult internet site for a few days before he became aware of it, claiming that he had been involved in sexual acts with both men and women.

A posting on the website 'FabSwinger.com' named the councillor, who is also a maor uisce (water carrier) for the Kerry senior football team, claiming he was involved in sexual activity with others in the Failte Hotel in Killarney that is owned by his family.

He said he hadn't slept properly since he became aware of it but gardai have been involved now for a while and had contacted Interpol to find the source.

"I just can't understand how someone can put your name up on an internet site and blacken you to high heaven," Mr O'Callaghan said.

"I'm absolutely devastated. I've got a wife and two children (12 and 14).

"I've a mother and two brothers who are going through their own health issues.

"And here I am dealing with this absolute and utter crap," he added.

"I was reduced to tears yesterday and I could have done anything.

"If I were a weaker person I'd be in the lake by now.

"I'm stressed out from it and I can understand how people get really stressed out by internet bullying and something has to be done," he added.

Mr O'Callaghan said he was determined to get to the bottom of who was spreading the rumours by text message.

He said he had no problem with anyone "having a go" at him to his face as he was well used to the "rough ball" and could take a slagging from anyone and could give as good as he got, but this was a new low.

DISTRAUGHT

"But when you have mindless people who think this is good fun and want to ruin my life or my relationship, which won't happen because my wife knows me.

"My mother is in her late 70s and she's distraught by this but my brothers, sisters-in-law and whole family are backing me to the end," he said.

Mr O'Callaghan has called on social media sites to do more and for people who use internet cafes to use social networking sites to have to provide proof of who they are.

"There are people out there who are not mentally strong enough to take this kind of thing and commit suicide and I can totally understand where they're coming from," he added.

"I'm getting bullied here but I'm not going to stand for it, but there are plenty of other people who can't stand up for themselves."

By Majella O'Sullivan

Irish Independent

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