Sunday 17 November 2019

Councillor made Facebook threat that 'I'll cut your f*****g throat'

Councillor John Loftus has apologised for his actions
Councillor John Loftus has apologised for his actions
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A death threat made by a councillor in Limerick against an anti-Irish Water activist is being investigated by gardaí.

Anti-Austerity Alliance Councillor John Loftus has also been requested to step aside by his party after telling the local activist that he would cut his throat.

The incident happened on Sunday morning after the pair had got into a heated exchange about the distribution of party funding.

Greg Doran (39), from Corbally, said he was very concerned after the threat was made against him on Facebook.

He said Mr Loftus messaged him at the weekend, making the threat.

"This guy is a councillor, not some keyboard warrior," said Mr Doran.

"He is an elected member of society and to use that phrase is very inappropriate, considering Limerick's history. Any councillor or person in Limerick would know how hurtful that phrase is to the people of Limerick."

The pair were involved in a heated exchange of messages on Facebook before Mr Loftus said he would cut Mr Doran's throat.

"The next time I see you I'll cut your f*****g throat," wrote the councillor. "Insult me and you are dead," Mr Loftus added.

Mr Loftus told the Irish Independent last night that he was sorry that he made the threat and did it on impulse.

"I don't know why I used that wording. It is totally unlike me and I have never been in trouble with the gardaí or had any history of violence," he said.

"I was on holiday, had a few beers, fell asleep and woke up to these messages (from Greg) and made a metaphorical threat," he added.

"I am sincerely very sorry if I offended Greg or if I offended anyone else with what I said. It is unlike me."

The Limerick Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) said it had investigated the matter and found the allegations to be true. "The AAA branch has requested John Loftus to step aside as a councillor otherwise we no longer consider him a member of the AAA.

"There was only one vote against," said a spokesperson following a late-night meeting held to discuss the threat.

The Alliance said such language or threats were unacceptable from anyone at any time, but particularly from a public representative.

"We sincerely apologise for any hurt caused and wish to state that we are taking this matter very seriously," added the spokesperson.

"The AAA completely and without reservation condemns the threatening language that was used by councillor John Loftus.

"This message, which was subsequently publicised on Facebook, caused hurt to the person it was sent to but it also damages the good name of the AAA and its hundreds of activists in Limerick, who have played such a vital role in helping to build mass non-payment of the water charges throughout this year."

Limerick AAA councillor Cian Prendiville told the Irish Independent that he stood by the AAA's statement.

Irish Independent

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