A TD has criticised online trolls who are targetting former taoiseach Brian Cowen, who remains in a very serious condition in hospital.
Mr Cowen was admitted on Thursday night at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin having suffered what is a suspected bleed on the brain.
Members of Mr Cowen’s family and close friends were by his side as he received treatment.
Today, Michael Healy Rae hit out at anonymous commenters online who brought up the economic crash once they became aware Mr Cowen was ill.
"A person is vulnerable when a family member is ill and I think we have to shout 'stop'," he told Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today Show.
"Mr Cowen, unfortunately, is ill and to think that people think it would be acceptable to say derogatory things about a person when they're ill, I just think that's beyond belief.
"I think we, as a respectful society, should be saying we are not going to accept it. It should be socially abnormal for somebody to put something up on Facebook that's not pleasant.
He said online trolls abuse people on social media because they have nothing better to do.
"[People engage in online abuse] because they're so bitter and twisted because of the fact that they're doing nothing with their own lives they think that it's okay to go online and say these dirty type of things and use bad language and be horrible quite simply because they've nothing better to do."
The Kerry politician reiterated his comments on a recent Late Late Show that online trolls should socialise and be more productive.
Deputy Healy Rae urged social media users to be respectful, especially towards someone who is in a vulnerable position.
"When there's illness in a house, the one thing a person can be is respectful. If you can't be respectful, keep your mouth shut.
"To you horrible, nasty people, for God's sake turn your life around. Try to do something productive because your time on this earth will come to an end and what legacy will you leave after you? That you went on social media sites saying horrible things about people you didn't even know."
He said he is praying for a speedy recovery for Mr Cowen and wished him and his family well.