Shane Coleman: One wrong word and you’re toast – politicians are running scared of social media

Our elected representatives are afraid to call out right from wrong through fear of an ensuing social media pile-on

Catherine Martin, the Minister for Media: initially said she was ‘not going to advise anyone’ on whether they should or should not pay their TV licence fee. Picture: Rollingnews

Politicians have always had to tread a fine line between straight talking and getting re-elected. Sometimes the latter involves defending the indefensible. While it can be frustrating from the ‘national interest’ perspective, at least there is a justifiable defence of electoral self-preservation.

But in recent times, politicians’ Jesuitical approach has gone well beyond rule one of Irish politics – ‘Mind thy seat’ – to the extent that it points to a collective loss of nerve ...