REVEALED: The ‘Internet Cowards’


Today’s Irish Independent.

But who would stoop so low as to print the Senator’s address?

Those cyber-bullying cowa….


Internet ‘Cowards’ Force Senator To Quit Social Media Sites (Greg Harkin, Irish Independent)

Senator Jimmy Harte (

Thanks Conor McCabe


82 thoughts on “REVEALED: The ‘Internet Cowards’

  1. Alan

    I’m sorry, you can sneer all you like at this… but it is cowardice. It’s people sending anonymous messages, saying things behind that veil of secrecy that they wouldn’t say otherwise.

    I think the moral outrage is a bit over the top, sure, and on the whole it taps into a fear of the medium that’s borne out of misunderstanding. However, these cowards — because that’s what they are — are doing far more to fan the flames of this fear, by giving people like him ample and justified reason to quit. And with what result? It reduces the lines of communication between representatives and the public, and discourages his colleagues to do the same thing.

    Apparently it’s more fun to laugh at the old people who don’t ‘get’ Twitter, than ask ourselves if this sort of behaviour is really okay. I don’t think any of us would say it was if we were on the receiving end.

    1. Claptrap


      The sneering from Broadsheet completely reinforces the prejudice against online media that it’s infantile and not to be taken seriously.

      1. Murtles

        I think the point here in BS is the first article is complaining about people posting his address yet he puts it on his official website himself.

    2. Sam

      You think it’s done out of misunderstanding? C’mere… d’ya want to buy a bridge… 1 careful owner. This is panto style deflection. The politicians know that people on social media will ask the tougher questions that rarely get passed the letters editor, and the mainstream media fear being made redundant. Compare the attacks on the weak that one regularly reads from the likes of Myers to people venting anger at corrupt politicians…. If there were threats made, I’d like to see the screenshots, because this guy has no credibility as far as I’m concerned.

    3. Sam

      You’re right about hiding behind anonymity. Cutting support for the vulnerable and hiding behind the IMF, it’s appalling lack of spine and character isn’t it?

      1. Alan

        Yes, hiding behind the IMF does demonstrate a lack of spine and character. But how, exactly, does that make anonymous harassment any more acceptable?

        This isn’t a political issue, it’s an issue of people saying stuff anonymously that they wouldn’t say in real life. It’s not right, it’s not healthy and it’s certainly not conducive to the open and transparent society that the public are constantly crying out for.

        1. Sam

          What you or I would call harrassment and what Politicians call harrassment and denigration of their profession are different things.
          In the Dail chamber you’re not even allowed to say somebody is lying FFS.
          I wouldn’t condone very personal remarks about TDs or senators, and threats should be out of bounds, but certainly people are entitled to call them liars and scoundrels based on their behaviour. This mob are very good at playing the victim, when they don’t like criticism. I’ve seen quite a few politicians FB pages and they get called w@ankers and liars … which I don’t think is beyond the pale considering the lying and betrayal going on.

          1. Kath

            Some of our elected public servants still think of themselves as public-approved demi-gods, above reproach.

            And politicians have been moaning about their fall from grace for some time. Still, they don’t seem to be any more humble (generally speaking) today or willing to answer questions from the masses than they were 10+ years ago. An essay from Pat Rabbitte circa 2000 on the changing public perception of politicians here:

        2. John

          Oh please. It’s common practice of these politicians to refuse to answer even simple questions like “why did you guarantee not one more red cent and yet here we’re paying billions anyway”; or “how can you say property taxes are immoral, unfair, and unjust when someone else wants to implement them, but you then go ahead and implement them when you’re in charge?”

          The person asking these questions gets banned from their pages. Now abuse and threats, sure that is not appropriate; but refusing to engage with the public who by and large put you there with the expectation that you would be accountable for your actions – and that being a guarantee of the same party, to be accountable – then complain that you’re being held accountable is funny to say the least.

          I feel rocks for these charlatans and liars. I hope they p–s off the wrong person and meet an angry citizen in a dark alley one day. But that’s just the inner angry Irishman in me that sees his country being sold down the river by those who should be there to protect it.

    4. tobyziegler

      You think facebook and twitter provided ‘a line of communication’ between Harte and his constituents?


      1. Alan

        Maybe not him, but some of his colleagues.

        As I said above, we all want a more open and transparent society — so why do people think it’s okay to hide behind veils of secrecy when they’re ‘participating in debate’.

        I’m not saying this bullying is going to bring about the end of the world, just that it’s shitty — and laughing at someone for putting their hand up and saying that is no different to schoolyard bullying mentality.

        1. Sam

          Open and transparent society? What happened the Freedom of Information Act? Butchered.
          Explain to me how there is a huge fine for not completing a detailed census form, and yet when we try to get information on things that effect our daily lives we’re told we can’t be given this information. This is about politics, and not the panto style shyte that they prefer to engage in.

          1. Alan

            I’m not saying society is open and transparent. I’m saying we want it to be. By rightly complaining about those contradictions, you’re showing that you agree with that much at least.

            So how do you think anonymous commenting helps us pursue that?

        2. Drogg

          firstly very few of the government politicians use there social media accounts to actually communicate with people and leave accounts un-updated for extended periods of time. They need to talk to people instead of live in their beliefs that they are above the people and how dare they question my decisions. Damn right people are angry people out there are suffering cause of these peoples decisions and when people turn against them because of it they cant hack the criticism. They shouldn’t be in public office if they cant handle peoples opinions.

          Plus all this online bullying crap is a distraction a sideshow to take away from the real problems out there, people aren’t committing suicide because of facebook or twitter, It’s a mental health issue and funny enough thats an area that this government and the previous ones before it have left underfunded and in a state of neglect

          1. Alan

            Maybe it is a sideshow. It probably is.

            But that doesn’t make the anonymous commenters any less cowardly, or their actions any more justifiable.

          2. Drogg

            ahh boo hoo somebody said something nasty on the internet get over it and get your job done there are people forming governments in parts of the world where there worried about somebody coming in with a gun to take them out to change their policies. All our politicians have to do is worry bout some nasty things said anonymously if they cant handle that give back your massive wages and state pension and go do a different jobs cause politicians need to be asked difficult questions and need to except the consequences of their decisions

          3. Alan

            If you want politicians to accept the consequences of their actions, presumably on real members of the public, then surely putting your name to the complaint would make it more effective?

            Also, I don’t really see what these governments ‘worried about someone coming in with a gun’ have to do with anything. If you were to follow that logic, then really we should stop complaining ourselves, as our ‘plight’ really does pale when compared to people in Syria or South Sudan…

          4. Drogg

            syria and sudan are fighting political oppression all people are doing here is commenting on political oppression and i a=imagine the reason people do this anonymously is so some over sensitive politician doesn’t send the garda to their door and i always am willing to give out who i am and anything i say here i would say to the faces of anyone i remark about

          5. Daithi

            Don’t necessarily agree there. Yes, the politicians need to have some gauge of public opinion and how their decisions are affecting the public, but if the countries leading legislators are accessible constantly to every query and question from the public (the majority of which will be inane) then we’re headed back towards Ballymagash politics. We dribble with detestation when the Healy Raes indulge in that kind of parochial paddywhackery putting the concerns of small localities ahead of the bigger picture in a time when, sorry to say this, there are bigger, national issues at stake but suddenly when we’re not getting adequate attention from our representatives we’re complaining that they won’t get on twitter and engage with us? I’d like to see their time better spent in negotiations with the Troika and coking up with intelligent and thought-out ways to improve our domestic economy.

          6. Drogg

            they are all involved in Ballymagash politics as you called it anyway. but if someone makes a legitimate point on their social media page why not reply thats what these things are for its a good way to gauge the real peoples reactions to whats going on on a national level.

            Also Barrack obama finds time to update his social media followers daily and he has a bigger work load then any of or politicians.

            Daithi really they need to be doing their jobs dealing with the troika instead of hiding behind poor me articles in the indo and distracting the masses from the real issues out there

          7. Drogg

            ha ha ha Droog was that a purposeful clockwork orange ref or an accident. he prob does have someone update his accounts but at least there active and get responses unlike alot of our politicians or at least he is not like our communication minister and has no accounts at all

    5. Liz

      if you said any thing to a TD that he would consider offensive, the Gardai would be at you door quick smart. It’s happened to quite a few people. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen – Harte is no shrinking violet. Sure didn’t he vote to cut child welfare and respite care? Only a person with a heart of stone would do that.

      1. Alan

        If it’s so clear cut, then why can’t people show up to his door or write a letter signed with their own name? Why not engage in discourse? Why the need for the anonymity, or the bombardment?

        1. Drogg

          alan by any chance are you working for some PR agency representing the Gov trying to defend their positions on online forums like your some average Joe

          1. Alan

            No. I am not. I’m saying it’s wrong to bombard people with anonymous comments.

            Believe it or not, it’s possible to agree with the government on things without being a) a Blueshirt or B) a PR agent.

            But I’m flattered that you found my arguments so well presented that you thought I was a pro.

        2. Sam

          Well as far as his FB page is concerned, lots of people use pseudonyms on there, whether they are posting on his page, or sharing pictures of cats. It’s not all about hiding from accountability, although there’s plenty of trolls online. Plenty of people do write to TDs using their own name whether in paper or electronic format. Have you ever seen ? TDs don’t like getting lots of complaints with real names attached either.

          1. Alan

            Plenty of people do sign their name. And people use their own profiles on FB.

            I’m not talking about them. In fact, more power to them.

            I’m talking about the anonymous ones. And only the anonymous ones.

        3. Liz

          because, if you say, Harte, you promised not to cut child benefits and you did, and then you call Harte a liar, that is true, but it’s libellous under Irish law. Not all of us have the wage that Harte does to defend ourselves in the Courts.

          1. Liz

            you not only have to prove that it’s factually correct, you have to prove there was no malicious intent, which is a very broad boundary. The rich are very good at proving malicious intent.

        4. The Other Fella

          Alan, do you not see the irony of the fact that you are not using your full name? You are as anonymous as anyone else on the internet.

          1. Karen

            Until Alan provides proof of his full name (and photo), full address and occupation and political party associations – everything he says here complaining about anonymity is a load of crap.

          2. Nigel

            Actually, regardless of how much information Alan posts about himself, everything he says about anonymity is perfectly correct. There is another argument, about the benefits of anonymity, but nobody here is making it.

          3. Karen

            If we don’t have proof of his identity and political affiliations, how can we know whether he is being honest or not?
            He could be doing a PR job for some political party.

          4. Nigel

            Honest about what? Do you think he’s lying and he really thinks anonymous abuse is the bee’s knees? And anyone who so much as expresses an iota of, well, if not sympathy, but a sense of a broader perspective than GAH HATE POLITICIANS HATE tends to get accused of being a PR hack, so that’s a rather cheap dodge. He either has a good point or he hasn’t. Requiring a minimum level of personal information before a person can criticise the culture of internet anonymity is what people who confuse making an argument and having an argument do.

          5. Nigel

            And that, all things considered, seems like an arbitrary purity test that has noting to do with what he said. Anyone who criticises anonymous abuse but who also sensibly limits the amount of personal information they put online can be accused of hypocrisy. It’s a cheap and tiresome gotcha.

      2. Tommy

        Do you know how much these rates were in 2004? Were you ranting about the rates back then and asking why they were not doubled? No, of course not.

    6. jem

      most people on facebook use their real name so its not so anonymous.
      jimmy harte had not been active on twitter for over a year.

    7. bunununs


  2. dylad

    ffs…..indo seems to be going beyond usual ambulance chasing when it comes to the cyber bullying story.

  3. Atticus

    Well it does highlight what personal information is actually available on the www with a few simple clicks

  4. Sido

    He’s probably an unelected politician picking up 60K a year plus a nice pension, who’s got a bit more to cope with, than he signed up for.

    Fair play – take the money (from the grateful public) and remember to tax the Mercedes on time.

    I “gave up” Facebook because I thought it was shite

  5. Mister Mister

    Seriously, do none of these people know how to block people or make their pages private if it gets that bad ?

    I’m sure they’ve all received old fashioned hate mail in the past, did they get the postman arrested for delivering it ?

    It really is a Shoot the Messenger thing nowadays.

  6. Odockatee

    Thats what we need, more politicians/senators like this guy with a sense of humour. He’s probably ROFL’ing as we speak at the reaction its generating. Lighten up tools

    1. Sam

      +1. He has no problem throwing personal abuse and you can see in the tweets where is is throwing insult at someone who is trying to point out that the Indo story was false.

  7. well

    Old media is scared. The whole article is a joke. pointed out his adress and other details can easily be found via Google on labors webpage.

    2.facebook is not anonymous , you now need a real phone number to use it.

    3.he could easily have chosen to block these people.

  8. Donal

    Why put his personal details on line and his address. He should look at the privacy settings on his account if he doesn’t want any criticism

  9. frillykeane

    Ah here have I got this arse ways posted this lad’s address

    And he says he’s being ebullied?


  10. Spaghetti Hoop

    This story truly stinks.
    1. He ran a vicious campaign of his own last year. If he was offensive on Twitter, he should expect much of the same in return.
    2. What exactly were the previous threats? They must have been lame if the final straw was publishing his already-online address.
    3. Who are his “cyber-bullys” and does he represent them?
    4. He’s setting up a new website where he can control and screen his online bullies? Can’t be very busy with constituency work, so.

  11. paul

    The whole story is part of the ongoing sham. There is nothing true in the independent report (don’t forget they’re the rag that went with the false Magda story that he carried on in his vile attacks on twitter).

    He hasn’t closed his twitter account. He just hasn’t used it in a year since he went off attacking everyone and anyone with abuse, including eamon dunphy who he seems to have a special distaste for.

    labour, eircom and himself published his home address.

    will old media apologise for this bullshit story?

  12. cohenhand

    Preposterous, shameful, opportunistic and exploitative nonsense.

    The Independent have removed it from their front page – probably when they realised that, by his own definition, Mr Harte qualifies as being a “cyber bully” himself.

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