Sinn Féin admits social media channels managed from Serbia and Germany

Sinn Féin admits social media channels managed from Serbia and Germany

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald's Facebook account has been operated by people based in Ireland, the UK and Germany. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Féin supporters based in Serbia and Germany are involved in managing the party’s social media channels, it has confirmed.

The party, in response to calls from Fine Gael, has confirmed its Facebook accounts are primarily managed in Ireland, but that supporters based abroad “help out” with its online messaging.

Fine Gael Senator John Cummins had called on Sinn Féin to explain why its social media accounts were being managed by people based in Serbia and Germany.

Mr Cummins issued a statement on Monday pointing to Facebook accounts for Sinn Féin and its leader Mary Lou McDonald which showed several people based in European countries “manage” the accounts.

Facebook ad library data shows Sinn Féin’s main account has been managed by people in Ireland, the UK, Germany and Serbia. 

Fine Gael Senator John Cummins had called on Sinn Féin to explain why its social media accounts were being managed by people based in Serbia and Germany. Picture: Pexels
Fine Gael Senator John Cummins had called on Sinn Féin to explain why its social media accounts were being managed by people based in Serbia and Germany. Picture: Pexels

Ms McDonald’s account has been operated by people based in Ireland, the UK and Germany, the transparency information reveals.

Fine Gael press officers also pointed to the fact that other Sinn Féin members' accounts have been managed from Germany.

Leading spokespersons

Those involved include some of the party’s leading spokespersons such as Cork South Central TD Donnachadh Ó Laoghaire, housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin, finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, health spokesman David Cullinane, former MEP turned TD Matt Carthy and justice spokesman Martin Kenny.

In response, Sinn Féin said: "Sinn Féin advertising on Facebook is managed in Ireland in full compliance with Facebook's advertising policies.

"A party supporter who is now based in Germany works for our social media team. In Serbia, we have two party supporters who occasionally help out our social media team. This information is publicly listed on Facebook.

There is no issue here – despite Fine Gael's petty attempt at spin.”

In his statement, Waterford-based Senator Cummins said Sinn Féin has “serious questions” to answer.

“The main Sinn Féin Ireland page is managed by numerous administrators including two based in Serbia and one in Germany. Data from Sinn Féin’s Facebook ad library shows 26 out of 37 of its Dáil representatives have a German-based Facebook administrator. 

"Why is it necessary that party leader Deputy Mary Lou McDonald has a Facebook account which is also managed in Germany? Why is the page of Northern leader, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill overseen by someone in Serbia?” he asked.

Mr Cummins said he planned to raise the issue with Facebook when it comes before an Oireachtas committee on Tuesday in a session about electoral interference.

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