Dundalk councillors stand up to online abuse

Michelle O'Keeffe

Reporter:

Michelle O'Keeffe

Email:

michelle.okeeffe@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dundalk councillors stand up to online abuse

Councillor Tomás Sharkey has called on local politicians to stand united against online abuse.
It comes after Cathaoirleach of the Dundalk Municipal District Emma Coffey spoke out about being targeted online by “cowards and bullies” after she condemned the surge of graffiti being spray painted by vandals on signs and seating around town, especially on the Navvy Bank.

Cllr Sharkey, speaking at the most recent Louth County Council meeting, said: “I would like to echo what the chair of our Municipal District Cllr Coffey mentioned two weeks ago when she talked about unfair social media criticism.

“I want all of us as councillors to reaffirm the fact that if we see on social media unfair, personalised, malicious and vindictive criticism of any of our colleagues that we will do everything we can to call those people out.
“To see online criticism of a mother, a sister, a wife, a neighbour, a family member and a friend, I think that is absolutely disgusting.

“I think it is for all of us, all 29 elected reps and all our Oireachtas members in Louth to call out unfair criticism, that is nothing short of horrific and horrendous.”

Two weeks ago, at the Dundalk Municipal District meeting Cllr Coffey had told how she had been targeted online after she condemned the increase of graffiti in Dundalk as an “absolute blight”.

Cllr Coffey made the point that vandals spraying graffiti was not art and spoke about people going to the popular walking spot, the Navvy Bank with spray cans wrecking seating and information areas.

Cllr Coffey said that abuse was a fact of life in politics but when it became personal, that was a different matter.

Speaking about the online abuse she received after condemning the vandalism, she said: “People who attack you on social media won't do it face-to-face.

“They are cowards, and I am calling it out.

“This behaviour needs to stop.

“Cowards and bullies won't be tolerated.”