John Halligan reveals he and his family have been targeted with 'appalling' abuse

John Halligan reveals he and his family have been targeted with 'appalling' abuse

By Elaine Loughlin, Political reporter

A junior minister has described the “outrageous and appalling” threats and abuse received by him and his family.

Independent Alliance TD John Halligan said he had contacted the gardaí after being told to look under his car.

It comes as it emerged that murdered British Labour MP Jo Cox had been subject of abuse online in recent months.

The Waterford TD and junior minister for training and skills said he received abuse after doing Leaders Questions in the Dáil on fatal fetal abnormalities.

“I am pro-choice, I am quite clear on that and I suffered absolute unbelievable abuse from a small element of what I would call the pro-life mob.

“I had literature put through my door at 2am, I had threats to look under my car, which the gardaí were aware of.

He said that those making the threats "don’t bother me, I think they are lunatics" but he felt he had to contact gardaí and a man was later arrested in Dublin over the threat on his car.

“My daughters suffered abuse when they were around Waterford on it and I continue to suffer it.

“My fear is always when you have all this abuse that 'we will kill you'... and that sort of stuff, that you wonder if there is someone out there that may not be, if you like, 100% mentally ok, can it happen, can somebody do it, can some lunatic come along and do something?

“Enough is enough, we need to do something about this,” he told RTÉ’s Marian Finucane radio show, hosted by Katie Hannon.

He added that other former colleagues who lost their seats had also suffered similar types of abuse.

Speaking on the same programme Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer said he had also received homophobic abuse online.

Their comments came after former Tánaiste Joan Burton highlighted the “threatening behaviour” experienced online by female TDs.

Writing in the Sunday Independent she said: “As a society we need to have a frank and candid discussion about putting an end to the abuse women politicians are subjected to on social media.”


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