Populist politics and social media

 

Sir, – A letter writer (June 3rd), responding to Colm Keena’s article “Populist politics in all but name is alive and well in Ireland” (Opinion & Analysis, June 1st), states, “we are meant to believe that some distasteful comment threads directed at those parties pose a more toxic threat to Irish society than the track record of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael themselves”.

There is much that could and should have been done by the outgoing Government, but then hindsight always gives a much clearer perspective. However, the problem is not “some distasteful comment threads”; it is vile and abusive personal attacks on individuals. Several politicians, both here and in the UK, have decided to leave politics due to this belief on the part of a growing minority that they have the right to attack individuals viciously. It appears that female politicians are particularly targeted. We need politicians, and we need people to fill all kinds of jobs that expose them to public scrutiny. But let us then treat them with respect and accept that in most cases they are trying to fulfil their remit. Of course there needs to be scrutiny and accountability, but we don’t need scurrilous and often anonymous social media postings, which are so damaging to those at whom they are directed. – Yours, etc,

EITHNE O’CALLAGHAN,

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.