SF member resigns after being outed as online troll
A Sinn Féin party member has been forced to resign after being outed as a social media troll.
Paul Heffernan, a party member in Wexford, confessed after being confronted by a businessman over anonymous abusive texts on social media.
A party investigation found he had used a Twitter account to troll politicians of other parties as well as various high-profile individuals.
The account was using the name ‘PeeO’Neill,’ a variant of a well-known Provisional IRA codename used to claim att- acks and make statements.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said: “With respect to the former member, good riddance.
“I think if you’re going to say something on social media, then say it under your own name. This business of hiding behind anonymity I think is cowardly.”
Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said: “It is time Mary Lou McDonald took action against the Sinn Féin trolls who are destroying Irish public discourse and bullying and intimating people.
“Ahead of the new Dáil term, every party should make a clear statement about how its members and representatives communicate on social media.
“All parties should instruct their members to use their real names online, and not fake accounts.
“This is most needed in Sinn Féin as it seems they are actually engaged in organised online bullying.
“Any time a member of another party puts something online, they are met with an avalanche of abuse from Sinn Féin activists.”
Her comments echo an attack by her party leader, Leo Varadkar, who denounced Sinn Féin online bullying on the last night of the Dáil before it rose for the summer recess.
However, Mr Ó Broin said: “I don’t accept that the party doesn’t do enough.
“In this instance, if that individual hadn’t resigned from the party you’d have lots of us making sure everything was done to get rid of such a person.
“There is an element of social media, it’s a minority, but it’s nasty.
“We have far too many positive things to be talking about to be engaged in nasty or negative or vitriolic attacks on anybody, so I think our record stands for itself.
“People are accountable for what they say themselves online, and what we can do is we can urge people to use social media positively.
“The party doesn’t benefit from negativity online.”
Eoin Ó Broin says his party is better off after a member in Wexford who had been anonymously trolling people online, resigned.
The Sinn Féin housing spokesman was responding to reports that a Sinn Féin member used false social media profiles to abuse businessmen, politicians and celebrities, including a Fianna Fáil senator and a local businessman.
The derogatory comments were left by an anonymous Twitter profile, using the name “P O’Neill”, a code-name once used by the Provisional IRA.
“Well, the first thing I’d say is, with respect to the former member, good riddance,” Mr Ó Broin said on Tuesday.
“I’m an active user of social media, and I think if you’re going to say something on social media, say it under your own name, and this business of hiding behind anonymity I think is cowardly.
“So if somebody was engaged in that kind of practice and left the party, I think parties are better for it.
“I don’t accept that the party doesn’t do enough.
“In this instance, if that individual hadn’t resigned for the party you’d have lots of us making sure everything was done to get rid of such a person.
“What I would say is, is there is an element of social media, it’s a minority element, but there’s an element that’s nasty, and if there is anybody out there who is a supporter of our party or indeed a member of our party and engaged in that, my message to them is; don’t to do it.
“We have far too many positive things to be talking about to be engaged in nasty or negative, or vitriolic attacks on anybody.”