Cork councillors have spoken out about the cyberbullying they experience and have urged the Minister of Justice to update legislation to protect young people from it.
Council Noel Collins (IND) brought a motion to the County Council asking for the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act to be updated to include cyberbullying and protect children, as well as adults from being bullied online.
Mr Collins said: “Verbal abuse still flows like water from a tap at my weekly advice clinic from people suffering the pain and anxiety of the housing crisis.
He added that public representatives would have to face “further hate and animosity” as the housing crisis worsens and much of this would come online.
“Cyberbullying is not only confined to school children, but sadly in other spheres,” he said.
He said it is “rampant” in political circles with many public representatives “left suffering in silence”.
Mr Collins said he has been called an “effin' Dub” and been told he is depriving a native of a seat in his constituency in the past.
County Mayor Declan Hurley said councillors were in a position of experience in regard to online abuse and can offer help to people who are suffering and do not have a way of speaking out.
“All 55 members of Cork County Council stand united against this epidemic,” he said.
“We as public representatives are victims of it on a daily basis. We all know about it. The fact that we are in a position to do something about it, we need to be vigilant of those who may not be in a position to deal with it,” he added.