herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Security sweep after vile abuse against senator

Gardai have conducted a security sweep at the home of a Labour senator who has been subjected to death threats and vile abuse online.

Galway senator Lorraine Higgins received a threatening message on her Facebook page and was forced to make a complaint to the gardai given the nature of the abuse - which threatened to "rip" her head off.

Ms Higgins, who is a barrister by profession, is seeking to contest the upcoming general election and has been warned that she could face more abuse as the campaign gets underway.

"It is deeply regrettable that this has become part and parcel of political life," she told the Herald.

"We have also been warned that there is likely to be an escalation of this type of abuse in the run up to the general election."

Ms Higgins received the vile message in the wake of an appearance on RTE's Primetime, where she discussed the jailing of anti-water charge protesters.

"I was on Primetime after water protesters were jailed, and half an hour after I was on, this abuse came in by way of a direct message," Ms Higgins said.

The message called her "traitorous", "two-faced", and a "bimbo". The sender then threatened to "rip her head from your shoulders".

Given the death threat she received both online and on her answer machine, Ms Higgins referred this latest threat to the gardai.

SAFETY

"The gardai did a security sweep of my parents' home. I suppose they were prioritising my personal safety. This sweep occurred last week," she told the Herald.

Ms Higgins had previously recieved online abuse from a political activist who took issue with her attendance at a retail awards event in Galway City.

She said a number of comments online had taken a heavy toll on her friends and family.

hnews@herald.ie

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