Monday 16 September 2019

O'Connell raises online abuse with party colleagues

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

Kevin Doyle

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 fellow TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Róisín Shortall.

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 Fine Gael's General Secretary Tom Curran.

A source told the Irish Independent: "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, a message appeared on Mr Walsh's account which claimed that after an even-tempered debate on abortion, Ms O'Connell yodelled "Look at all them men, discussing our uteruses!"

In another Tweet highlighted in Ms O'Connell's dossier, Sinn Féin's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was referred to as a "stupid b***h".

Mr Walsh was unavailable for comment.

Irish Independent

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