Saturday 22 October 2016

TD Joe O'Reilly 'disgusted' as Google mixes him up with wife-killer


Fine Gael TD Joe O'Reilly, left, and killer Joe O'Reilly, right.
Fine Gael TD Joe O'Reilly, left, and killer Joe O'Reilly, right.
Fine Gael TD Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

Fine Gael TD Joe O'Reilly was "disgusted" to learn Google is continuing to place an image of the convicted wife murderer alongside his profile online.

The father-of-three said he previously raised this issue with the internet giant almost two years ago and last night he admitted he was "disturbed" to learn that this embarrassing error had returned.

When the Cavan-Monaghan TD's name is entered in to the search engine online, a "knowledge panel" about him appears on the side of the results page. But, instead of displaying a picture of the 60-year-old Cootehill native, it displayed an image of the infamous Joe O'Reilly who was convicted of murdering his wife Rachel in the north county Dublin home they shared 11 years ago.

"I found it in the past and still find it very disturbing, uncomfortable, unpleasant and it shouldn't be the case. It concerns me, it is a source of stress and unpleasantness," Mr O'Reilly said.

Deputy O'Reilly said that he wrote to Google shortly after he was first made aware of the blunder in November 2013.

The 60-year-old said that he previously engaged in the company's procedure process in requesting them to rectify the matter and the company agreed.

It has not been established when the "knowledge panel" reverted back to using a picture of the murderer, who recently lost an appeal against his life sentence, which he is serving in Arbour Hill prison.


The TD also admitted he sought advice from a lawyer but confirmed that he decided not to launch any legal action against them, even though he did not receive any form of compensation after they temporarily fixed the issue.

"We did not take any legal action that time because we assumed the matter was resolved. I am very disappointed it is not," he added. "It is unpleasant and nobody wants that. It is careless on their part for this reason, in the past on a number of occasions, I had approaches made to them to stop it."

The TD, who is currently in Strasbourg on business, will make a decision on his next move when he returns home.

Google removed the photograph from the profile panel yesterday after being made aware of the error.

Any concerned users have the option of notifying them of any issue through a "feedback" option.

The Herald yesterday revealed that the house in Naul, where the convicted murderer bludgeoned his wife to death, has been sold to an unknown bidder for an undisclosed sum.

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