From top: Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina O’Doherty; Professor Catherine Kelly
Tyrone-born, US-based academic Catherine Kelly (via the Jude Collins blog) writes:
Leaving Ireland on June 27, 2017 to return to New York, I was approached by two men in plain clothes who presented themselves as officers from Pearse Street Garda Station.
They asked, “Is this your name Catherine Kelly?”. When I confirmed my name they stated they needed to speak with me.
I was quickly shown one Garda badge though I did not have time to note any identification number of name. One of the men did all the talking while the other looked on.
I was asked if I use social media, which I confirmed. I was asked if I use Twitter, which I also confirmed. I was shown a small notebook in which the words ‘Sane Politico’ were written.
I was asked if I used the ‘name’ ‘Sane Politico’, which I again confirmed. I was asked if I had written an article about Minister Regina Doherty and that too was affirmed.
This is the article in question.
I was then informed that a complaint had been made against me at Pearse Street Garda Station. There was no information offered about who filed the complaint. I was informed that I was being ‘cautioned’ and that I was not to tweet Regina Doherty or any material relevant to her again.
I was informed ‘she does not like it’. As the Regina Doherty and Sane Politico accounts have utilised mutual blocks for at least two years, I explained how I cannot and do not tweet Minister Doherty directly.
This explanation was not understood by the man posing the questions.
I then informed the interrogator that I am a Professor of Political Science at an American University and that I teach about the use of social media in political contexts. The man responded, ‘Sure half of these ones do not even understand what social media is’.
The man who questioned me then reintroduced a small notebook and I saw a page of notes that I did not attempt to read. I was asked to sign the page of notes at the bottom. I did as requested, as I was informed I was required to do so before I could proceed to my gate.
I signed the page, ‘Catherine Kelly’. As I had an urgent personal matter to attend to in New York, it seemed like the wisest action to take.
Broadsheet contacted the Garda Press Office and was told it cannot confirm anything about the matter as it cannot comment on individual cases.
Broadsheet also contacted a spokesperson for Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty and we are awaiting a call back.
A spokeswoman for Ms Doherty said:
“If there is an investigation going on or enquiries being made by the gardai, it wouldn’t be appropriate for any comment but I am aware of a complaint having been made. It’s a matter for the gardaí.”