Internet 'cowards' force senator to quit social media sites
Published 14/01/2013 | 05:00
CYBER-BULLIES behind a vicious intimidation campaign against a Labour senator have forced him to quit social media sites.
Jimmy Harte (54) said he had been forced to close his Facebook and Twitter accounts after being threatened.
The final straw came when someone put his home address and personal information online.
He is now planning to set up his own website where he can screen and control the online bullies.
"I've had enough," said the Donegal politician. "I think social media has so many advantages if it is used for the good, but I just see more and more negative uses for it and that's why I've decided to close down my accounts."
Mr Harte branded those behind the threats as "cyber-cowards".
The people who attacked him were not interested in political debate, he said, adding: "To print my private address in what was a derogatory manner was the last straw.
"I have a young daughter and a wife as well as grown-up children and I simply could not risk their safety.
"It was not a decision I took lightly as I was an avid user of social media, but I had to quit in the end.
"If someone wants to express a view or have a debate with me, they should just pick up the phone or come and see me and we can discuss it like adults."
Mr Harte said he had spoken to other politicians who, he said, were also considering quitting their online presence.
"This is a serious issue and I think the area of anonymity when posting has to be looked at," he said.
"It's too easy to open an account, carry out this abuse and then move on."
Mr Harte said he was setting up a new website for use as his online presence.