Sunday 19 November 2017

UFC fan Averil Power defends Seanad colleague and reveals she's also received a rape threat

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power has defended her Seanad colleague Catherine Noone after she was subjected to vile online abuse – including a rape threat.

Senator Noone found herself in hot water after she appeared on radio and called for a proposed UFC title involving Irish star Conor McGregor to be banned from taking place in Dublin.

Despite a climbdown from her position, Senator Noone received some nasty treatment on social media and her Seanad colleague Averil Power, a massive UFC and boxing fan, defended her and admitted that she was once the subject of an online rape threat.

“As a politician, we do take criticism and that’s part of the job,” she told Ryan Tubridy on 2FM.

Twitter can be a particularly nasty. I love Twitter and most of the debate can be positive, but there are some people on there who think, because they can his behind an avatar, they can say things that they could never say to your face.

“I’ve done a lot of work on Palestine and I’ve visited the region recently.

“When the Seanad passed my motion to recognise Palestine, I got incredible abuse including a rape threat which was upsetting.

“I ignore it and I figure if you want to be that nasty, you’re not good people.

“As a woman, if you’re a politician or anything else, you think about your mother and you sister and it was the only threat from all the abuse that I ever reported.

“Mine was through Facebook, a guy had sent it through his own account with a photograph to send me this stuff and I thought,  ‘do you know what  if he’s comfortable doing that to me, he’s comfortable doing it to someone else’. So I did report it for that reason.”

Senator Power will definitely be staying up late on Sunday night to catch McGregor’s fight with Germany’s Dennis Siver in Boston and said a charity boxing night she took part in a number of years ago gave her a love for boxing and mixed martial arts.

“I’m a big fan of the MMA and UFC. I think it’s an incredible sport. The work that Conor McGregor has to put in to compete at that level is extraordinary, we should be very proud of him,” she added.

“I’ve always liked the sport and I grew up with three brothers, so we not only watched WWF in the livingroom, we used to play it.

“A few years ago, one of the local boxing clubs had an idea for a fundraiser to put a load of politicians in the ring against each other and as you can imagine it was popular. I fought against a Green Party councillor and then my next fight was against a rugby player.

“It’s fun, you also get super fit and it’s nice to have an outlet, with my line of work, where I can work out all of my frustration. It makes it easier to be nice the rest of the time.”

Asked who from the opposition benches she would like to take on in the ring, she said: “I might have to challenge Catherine now, I hear that she said she’s willing to be educated for it. I’ll have to talk to her.”

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