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The Floating Voter: 'There have to be real sanctions' - TDs Niamh Smyth and Louise O'Reilly on online abuse

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Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise O’Reilly TD

This week’s Floating Voter podcast on Independent.ie took a look at how social media abuse should be tackled by the Government.

Fianna Fáil’s Niamh Smyth and Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly shared their own experiences of some of the hate they have received online.

Deputy O’Reilly revealed that she was this week contacted by Gardaí who inquired about her home security.

She also said that she has been previously targeted by the now-removed Barbara J Pym Twitter account, which former Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris admitted to helping to run.

Cavan Monaghan Deputy Smith, who is the chair of the Oireachtas Arts and Media Committee said that as part of pre-legislative scrutiny into the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, anonymous accounts on social media should be banned.

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Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth. Photo: Tom Burke

She also said that as part of the new legislation, a new Commissioner would be set up which would examine complaints by individuals into online content.

The Commissioner would then work to remove harmful content faster.

“There have to be real sanctions put in place,” said Deputy Smyth.

“These orchestrated pile-ons have to be stopped and that would be what the new online safety commissioner would do,” she added.

Political Editor Philip Ryan and Ms O’Reilly also clashed on anonymous social media accounts after Mr Ryan said that he received a lot of hate online during his coverage of the Sinn Féin Abú database.

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