05 Oct 2022

Louth Senator has branded an online campaign for shops to breach restrictions and reopen "irresponsible"

Louth Senator has branded an online campaign for shops to breach restrictions and reopen "irresponsible"

A Facebook group advocating for the spontaneous re-opening of Irish businesses on Saturday is highly irresponsible and dangerous, a Louth Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John McGahon has called on the social media giant to close down this and similar group campaigns spreading false information and undermining public health guidelines.

 Senator McGahon said: “It has been brought to my attention that a public Facebook group with over 1,300 members called ‘The Great Re-Opening’ is agitating for the spontaneous re-opening of businesses this Saturday.

 “The group description states that ‘The idea of the group is for members to keep each other up to date and show support for those businesses by opening their doors while the country is in Level 5 lockdown.’

 “It is extremely irresponsible and from looking through some of the posts on the page, there are many examples of Covid and vaccine scepticism.

 “This is exactly the type of dangerous discourse that is flourishing on social media sites like Facebook, completely unchallenged, both in public and hidden groups. 

 “This type of rhetoric only serves to undermine the public health message and promote dangerous conspiracy theories about the effectiveness of vaccines, mask wearing and Covid itself.”

Senator McGahon concluded: “Facebook has to ultimately take responsibility and acknowledge that this type of information is spreading on their platform like wildfire, not only here in Ireland, but right across the world.

 “This group is an insult to the memory of those people who have sadly died from Covid-19 and is deeply disrespectful to those frontline workers who put their own lives at risk every day.

 “Facebook must shut the group down and tackle the dangerous agenda it provides a platform to.”

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