Death threats and sexual harassment: Lifting the lid on the online abuse of Irish politicians

Irish politicians currently face unprecedented levels of abuse on social media. Now research has discovered that almost half of all the hostility is coming from a tiny number of accounts. But in a new age of political rancour, a small cohort can still make an extremely loud noise

Roughly 2 per cent of tweets relating to Irish politics could be classified as highly toxic, which is defined by Perspective AI as ‘rude, disrespectful or unreasonable comments that are likely to make people leave a discussion’. Picture: Getty

Being slandered as a paedophile while they scroll through Twitter first thing in the morning, receiving sexual messages from a stranger while sitting in their living room, getting sent pictures of a hangman’s noose while in their office: just some of the daily experiences of Ireland’s politicians online.

Whether it’s at work, on holidays with family or at home on Christmas Eve, TDs, senators and councillors are being exposed to an unprecedented level of online ...