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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Senator in UFC row receives rape threat

Catherine Noone
Catherine Noone
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone has told how she was subjected to online abuse - including a rape threat.

The sick abuse came after she spoke out against the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Ms Noone was the target of several online messages after saying she wanted to stop UFC events being staged in Dublin as the sport is too "vile".

She eventually about-turned on her stance, but still received a torrent of abuse on social media sites regarding the issue.

One of the posts was particularly vicious, with the user writing that he hoped Ms Noone would be "raped".

The tweet read: "Stupid f***ing b***h, you'll never get MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) banned you pathetic worthless weak woman. Hope you get raped."

The Fine Gael press office notified gardai of the comments.

Ms Noone went on Ryan Tubridy's 2fm programme on Monday to discuss her views of Mixed Martial Art (MMA), and received widespread criticism afterwards.

Last night, she told the Herald that while she admits she should not have engaged in the debate having heard only one side of the argument, the level of abuse she received as a result was "deeply upsetting".

"I accept that I didn't fully brief myself on the issue, and in hindsight I regret agreeing to do the interview, but the comments I've received have been horrific," she said.

"I know politicians are seen as fair game, but to have this level of personal abuse directed at someone over comments made is deeply upsetting.

"It's unacceptable that anyone should be subjected to these type of comments."

As well as the horrific rape comment, several users left other offensive messages for the senator.

One user wrote: "Think before you speak, you whore."

Another tweeted: "Wow shut your mouth you dumb b***h you have no clue about MMA you clown."

The Herald first revealed that Ms Noone was seeking to have UFC outlawed in venues such as Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium.

neurologist

She also said that although she did not want to revisit the issue surrounding her MMA comments, she felt that the personal attack on her had to be highlighted.

The online abuse came in response to a tweet by Ms Noone in which she admitted to "not being fully educated" on the matter of MMA.

"Hands up - jumped the gun re UFC/MMA - lots of offers of training/education which I'll take up," she wrote.

Although Ms Noone accepted that her opinion on the issue was one-sided, she still believes MMA is an extremely violent sport and that more adequate safety measures have to be introduced for the amateur ranks around the country.

"It's not a sport that I'd want a loved one part-taking in," she said.

"I'm certainly not going to use the word 'ban' in relation to the sport again, but from talking to a neurologist, something has to be done to make it a safer sport below the professional ranks."

Herald

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