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Labour Senator's home gets garda sweep after vile Facebook abuse

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Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins

Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins

Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins

Galway Senator Lorraine Higgins has opened up on the sort of abusive comments she has been receiving online, after it was revealed gardai had to carry out a security sweep on her home.

Senator Higgins received a threatening message on her Facebook page and was forced to make a complaint to the gardaí given the nature of the abuse.

Speaking to Sean O'Rourke on Radio One, she said that she felt compelled to report the abuse to the gardai following concerns from her family.

"We met with the member of the gardai who talked us through various vulnerability around the house, who suggested we should up our security in the run up in the next general election.

"I'm used to this being part and parcel of public life, but it's difficult for members  of my family to take this infringement on their lives, they didn't sign up to politics.

"I didn't realise when I was signing up this would be part and parcel of the job description."

She said that she believes this particular threat was made after a contribution she made on RTE's Prime Time programme on the jailing of anti-water charge campaigners.

"I think it's plausible to assume the threat resulted from that contribution on Prime Time. It's unfortunate that they're allowed have a position, but I'm not allowed articulate mine.

 "I respect everybody's argument against water charges and what not, but I was making a legitimate point."

She said that she has 'no difficulty with criticism', but that the threats to her personal safety crossed the line.

"I've been called everything from a whore, told I should have been aborted.

"I had an individual who was attempting to blackmail me, but wouldn't identify what he was attempting to blackmail me about."

Ms Higgins, who is a barrister by profession and is seeking to contest the upcoming general election, has been warned that she is in store for more abuse as the campaign gets underway.

"It is deeply regrettable that this has become part and parcel of political life," she told the Irish Independent.

The abusive message which sparked the complaint called her a "poxy, traitorous, two-faced, money-grabbing, bimbo bitch".

The message sender then threatened to "rip your head from your shoulders" amid various other violent obscenities.

It then calls her a "dumb blonde" before restating the threat to rip her head off.

"The gardaí did a security sweep of my parents' home, I suppose they were prioritising my personal safety.

"This sweep occurred last week," she said.

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