Friday 6 December 2019

Ganley blogger in garda probe after fire tweet

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A BLOGGER who was forced to apologise for sending defamatory tweets about businessman Declan Ganley is being investigated by gardai after he wrote about burning down the Catholic Iona Institute.

Kevin Barrington tweeted: "Don't tell me we'll have to burn the Iona Institute and all the Quinn witches therein to the ground. Again. Muthaf***as."

Institute patron Breda O'Brien (pictured) said Mr Barrington had "crossed a line" and she had reported the matter to gardai in Dublin.

Ms O'Brien said she was not aware what sparked the offensive tweet, which was posted on January 7.

"I found the tone scary. It's not that I believe Mr Barrington is going to burn us down, but things are written on Twitter that cross the line, and this does."

She said the reference to "Quinn witches" – the institute is headed by religious and social affairs commentator David Quinn – was misogynistic and, as only three women are involved there, it was clear who Mr Barrington was referring to.

"I felt vulnerable. I reported it (to gardai) to get advice," said Ms O'Brien, who became aware of the tweet last Friday.


On January 2, Mr Barrington apologised to Libertas founder Mr Ganley via his Twitter account and blog for remarks he made in December. He said he had made a "substantial" donation to the Poor Clare Sisters, which turned out to be €50.

It is believed to have been the first legal settlement in the State involving remarks made on Twitter. Mr Ganley's Belfast-based lawyer Paul Tweed said the action against a tweeter was likely to be the "first of many coming down the line".

Irish Independent

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