Wednesday 28 September 2016

Clinging on? The ex-politicians still using the TD label on Twitter

Tomás Heneghan

Published 09/07/2016 | 07:05

Stock image
Stock image

They lost their seats in the last General Election, but these politicians haven’t gone away. Especially on Twitter.

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Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is just one in a list of retired and electorally-rejected TDs who continue to use the title of ‘TD’ on Twitter since #GE16.

Despite what his account would tell you, Gilmore is no longer “Labour TD for Dun Laoghaire”.

Although he appears to have taken a step back from Twitter since February’s election, Mr Gilmore still found the time to ‘like’ a tweet last month.

Former Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore Photo: Arthur Carron
Former Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore Photo: Arthur Carron

Eamon’s not alone in still living the TD dream on social media.

Former Dublin Central TD Joe Costello also describes himself as “Labour TD for Dublin Central” on Twitter and has even kept @JoeCostelloTD as his handle.

He’s been using his account much more than the former Tánaiste though, tweeting up to the end of last month.

Former Dublin South Central TD Eric Byrne describes himself as “former Dáil Deputy for Dublin South Central” but has held on to the @EricByrneTD Twitter handle.

Labour TD Joe Costello
Labour TD Joe Costello

Besides this Byrne’s account appears to have lain almost dormant since he lost the first of two Labour seats in the constituency, with the exception of one retweet last April.

Interestingly, the Twitter accounts of Anne Ferris and former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn have never sent, responded to or retweeted a tweet. But the accounts of both former TDs still carry the marks of a TD.

Sandra McLellan. Photo: Tom Burke
Sandra McLellan. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Fein’s Sandra McLellan, who was replaced in the last General Election by Pat Buckley, still describes herself as “Sinn Fein TD for Cork East” on Twitter.

Another whose Twitter handle hasn’t yet managed to catch up to the electoral results earlier this year is that of the colourful, former Socialist TD Joe Higgins.

Although his Twitter bio describes him as a “former Socialist Party TD”, his handle still reads @JoeHigginsTD. And this is certainly no inactive account.

Other former TDs, Galway’s Brian Walsh, Longford Westmeath’s James Bannon, and Cork’s Aine Collins are among those who use a Twitter handle with TD in the name.

Changing a username or handle on Twitter takes less than a minute. All that is required of a user is to click on the ‘settings’ option in the top right hand corner of the homepage and amend the username.

The site will let a user know immediately if the new name is available and if it is, all a user has to do next is hit ‘save changes’ at the bottom of the page and enter their password to confirm the change.

Independent.ie attempted to contact the former TDs still using their TD accounts but none responded.

However spokespeople for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Fein said they do not manage the Twitter accounts of TDs or former TDs and are not responsible for how the accounts are presented.

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