From top: Sinn Féin’s chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Brian Stanley TD; Solicitor Simon McGarr
Further to controversy caused by tweets from a Sinn Féin TD celebrating a 1979 IRA attack and poking fun at Tanaiste Leo Varadkar’s sexuality…
…Solicitor Simon McGarr writes:
Twitter is a reflection of real life- just as a golf clubhouse, a GAA clubhouse and a nightclub are each different reflections of real life. They give expression to an aspect of public opinion. But Twitter has also become a broadcast system for official actors.
Politicians are used to broadcast media- that’s what most of them have trained to use for decades.
But a broadcast medium that is also an archive of all the dumb things we’ve ever said in passing and a two-way communications system? As [Sinn Féin TD and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee] Brian Stanley realised as he deleted his account, “we’re not as good at it.”
This points to a crunch happening from the middle of next year, when people who are self-confessedly bad at understanding and using the communication elements of social media will try to draw up rules that will restrict a good chunk of the world’s usage of it.
Ireland’s biggest Twitter-storm is yet to land.’ [More at link below]
A lot of theoretical nonsense Ash, these guys have no understanding of the telecoms market which is very complex as you know and we have just dropped nearly 20million getting the best advice possible from people that do understand telecoms.
From top; David McCourt and Denis Naughten; tweet from Government official Fergal Mulligan responding to a Sunday Business Post article on the National Broadband Plan bidding process;
The Dáil heard statements last night on Peter Smyth’s report into the National Broadband Plan procurement process.
Several TDs raised tweets posted by a Fergal Mulligan in response to an article in the Sunday Business Post.
Mr Mulligan called the story “a lot of theoretical nonsense” and that “we” had “dropped 20 million getting the right advice” on what was the “only game in town”.
Yesterday, The Times Ireland edition reported that Mr Mulligan is a senior government official and programme director for the National Broadband Plan.
Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley was the first yesterday to raise the matter:
Timmy Dooley: “The account in question has, I understand, tweeted around five times since it was created. The communications protocol I outlined earlier states that, as a general matter, members of the NBP team shall not discuss or communicate in any way matters relating to the procurement outside of the NBP team.
…It goes on to state that where communications with a third party takes place, whether oral or written, involving a member of the NBP team, the NBP team member will state that they cannot discuss any matters relating to the procurement process. Can the Minister confirm that this person is in fact who he says he is on Twitter?
“Has he carried out any investigation to establish that? Does he believe it is appropriate for the programme director to engage in this kind of communication at this stage of the process? Why did the programme director take it upon himself to make these unsolicited comments?”
Chief Justice Frank Clarke and Fine Gael Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan at the launch of Courts Service Annual Report 2017 in Phoenix House, Dublin, on Saturday
In The Sunday Times.
Mark Tighe reported that, on Saturday, the chief justice of Ireland Frank Clarke announced a ban on the use of social media and all electronic communications within courts except in the case of “bona fide” journalists or lawyers.
Clarke said the presidents of the five courts, from the District Court to the Supreme Court, had signed a practice direction meaning the ban would apply to all courts.
He said the new rule was a form of “soft law”. It would not create a criminal offence but judges could order parties to stop using devices, to surrender phones or order them to leave court if they refused to comply.
“In a paper released by Clarke, he appeared to point to the Jobstown case as one of a number of recent trials that showed a need for regulation.
“…Charlie Flanagan, the justice minister, welcomed the rules, saying it was essential to ‘ensure the integrity of the trial process’.
“Journalists considered bona fide would be those who work for a publisher or broadcaster signed up to standards set by the Press Council of Ireland or the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It also includes members of the National Union of Journalists.”