News Politics

Monday 22 October 2018

Kate O’Connell writes to Fine Gael bosses about alleged online abuse from senior party figure

Complaint: Kate O’Connell. Photo: Tom Burke
Complaint: Kate O’Connell. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle, Niall O’Connor and Cormac McQuinn

First-time TD Kate O’Connell has written to Fine Gael bosses complaining about online abuse she claims to have been subjected to by a senior party figure.

The Dublin Bay South representative told a private meeting of TDs and senators that she wanted them to be aware of activity alleged to be on Barry Walsh's Twitter account.

Ms O'Connell claims that on the Twitter account of a member of the Fine Gael Executive Council, there are a number of derogatory tweets about her and other female politicians, referring to Mary Lou McDonald and Roisin Shortall as b******.

In an unprecedented move Ms O’Connell printed out the social media posts and passed them around at last night’s meeting.

She has also written a formal letter of complaint to the Fine Gael’s General Secretary Tom Curran.

A source told Independent.ie: “Kate stood up at the end of the meeting to raise the issue of online abuse. She asked colleagues for their support and handed out screengrabs of posts.”

Ms O’Connell told colleagues she has been subjected to online abuse since a debate on the Eighth Amendment at the party’s national conference last weekend.

On Saturday Mr Walsh posted a Twitter message in which he claimed that after an even-tempered debate on abortion, Ms O’Connell yodelled “Look at all them men, discussing our uteruses!”

He later accused her of using wrong statistics to back up her arguments, adding: “Looks like someone following tactic of hard-left pols: hear a false statistic that sounds good, don’t bother to check it, then repeat it as ‘fast’.”

Mr Walsh, who is pro-life, has also engaged on Twitter with comedian and Repeal the Eighth campaigner Tara Flynn in recent days, questioning why she is a “feminist hero”.

In another Tweet highlighted in Ms O’Connell’s dossier the Sinn Féin’s deputy leader was referred to as a “stupid b****”.

And talking about Social Democrats co-leader the tweet says: “The hypocrisy of this b****!”

Mr Walsh was unavailable for comment.

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