Labour senator Jimmy Harte has become the latest politician to exploit the tragic suicide of Shane McEntee as a potential opportunity to introduce restrictions on freedom of speech.
According to Harte he has been forced to close his Facebook and Twitter accounts because of anonymous threats and bullying.
He provides no details other than the ‘threat’ he felt when his home address was published on Facebook. This is despite the fact that Senator Harte openly publishes his home address on his own website.
When it was pointed out to him during a Newstalk interview that he could easily block abusers on Facebook he weakly replied that the effort (about two to three seconds) wasn’t worthwhile
Fine Gael TD, Ciaran Cannon, in the same interview, gently tore Senator Harte’s victim allegations to shreds by simply telling the truth.
Cannon has been on Facebook and Twitter for years and has rarely being the object of abuse. When faced with abuse he simply blocks the abuser, something he has had to do only twice in the last three years.
When he receives abuse in the post he dumps it, when he receives abuse on the phone he hangs up.
He stated, correctly, that there were already in place plenty of laws to deal with personal abuse, slander and libel.
Cannon said he was concerned by suggestions from some politicians regarding the control of social media.
Tellingly, Senator Harte said that he may ‘review’ his decision to close his accounts at a later stage.
Here’s a prediction:
The ‘bullied’ senator will quietly reactivate his accounts as soon as he believes every advantage has been sucked out of Shane McEntee’s suicide.
Senator Harte (with my name and contact details)