Friday 18 January 2019

Supporters of SocDems accused of social media 'hate speech'

Roísín Shortall of the Social Democrats was sent complaint. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Roísín Shortall of the Social Democrats was sent complaint. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Niall O'Connor

A former senior government adviser has warned the leadership of the Social Democrats that the online behaviour of some of their supporters is worse than that of "Sinn Féin's keyboard warriors".

Ed Brophy, who served as the chief of staff to Tánaiste Joan Burton, sent a complaint this week via email to Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall. Mr Brophy, a pollster and 'Sunday Independent' columnist, claims Social Democrats activists have engaged in various online attacks in recent months.

He has described the behaviour of some of the party's members as being worse than that engaged in by "Sinn Féin's keyboard warriors".

It is understood that Mr Brophy appealed to Ms Shortall to ensure members engaged in a respectful and dignified manner on social media platforms.

Ms Shortall has yet to respond to the former government adviser.

The Social Democrats did not respond to queries. Mr Brophy declined to comment.


However, he tweeted this week: "Online hate speech rife among @SocDem activists - worse than Sinn Féin keyboard warriors, now under orders to curtail their worst instincts."

Mr Brophy also tweeted what he claimed was an example of the abuse.

In the post on Facebook, the poster - who is alleged to be a Social Democrats activist - attacks Mr Brophy.

Mr Brophy served as a senior adviser in the Fine Gael-Labour government during various challenges. He now serves as a pollster and strategist for the research company Ireland Thinks.

But in the email to Ms Shortall - a Dublin North West TD who quit the Labour party in 2013 - Mr Brophy said there had been more instances.

The controversy comes just weeks after the Dáil passed a Fianna Fáil bill which pledged a crackdown on certain social media practices.

Irish Independent

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