A CORK TD says that young women and minority groups are not getting involved in politics because of personal online attacks and hate.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, made the claim during a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, in a discussion on the Electoral Reform Bill.
He was commenting after Cork comedian Tadhg Hickey shared a video on Twitter, about a tweet directed at him in which a threat of sexual violence was made against his mother, who is deceased.
Mr Hickey has reported the tweet to gardaí.
Deputy Gould said that the messages received by Mr Hickey were “highly disturbing”.
He added: “It is disturbing that some people even suggest he deserves this kind of commentary because of his political views.”
Among the subject matter of Mr Hickey’s online sketches are Brexit, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and loyalism.
Mr Gould said: “The hate that is there is absolutely shocking. We have seen it on all sides and it is not good enough. People, especially young women and minority groups are being put off getting involved in politics because of personal attacks and hate.”
He acknowledged that other Oireachtas committees are currently examining the Online Safety Bill, but he said the Electoral Reform Bill should also include online trolling “because it is utterly disgusting some of the comments and trolling that takes place.”
Mr Hickey did not wish to comment, but in a video shared on his Twitter profile, he said he sometimes receives a “frosty reception” from some people after he shares something on Twitter.
But he said there has to be a line that should not be crossed.