Minister for Justice Helen McEntee plans to meet with the social media platform X amid Government concern about content posted online during the riots in Dublin last week.
She told the Dáil this week that Meta and TikTok engaged with gardaí and took down certain posts, but social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, did not engage when asked to take down “vile” posts.
Speaking about the riots which occurred in Dublin a week ago, which saw public transport burned and shops looted, Ms McEntee also defended her use of the word “scumbag” to describe those responsible for the scenes of destruction.
On the proliferation of content about the riots on social media, she said she was seeking a meeting with X.
“There has been engagement between An Garda Síochána and social media companies, not just on last Thursday but since then. I will be seeking to meet with X myself because I think the company have a responsibility to be responsible, and where they did not take down content on Thursday it added to, and I think fuelled, some of what happened. So I would like to engage with them on what they plan to do moving forward.”
X has been contacted for comment.
Speaking about her description of some protesters as “scumbags”, she said: “Look, I said what I said yesterday. That is not language that I would normally use, but it was reflecting the actions that we saw on Thursday night. I have strong feelings on what happened. The people responsible for the violence and absolute thuggery on Thursday night, they need to be brought to justice, and what I said was a reflection of the actions that we saw. It is not normally language that I use, but what we saw on Thursday night is not something that we would normally see either.”
In relation to a mooted vote of confidence against her, Ms McEntee said she had the support of her colleagues across the Coalition. “I have the full support of my party, I have the full support of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and I have the support of my Cabinet colleagues. I am absolutely focused on my work and everyone else is as well.”
Asked if Dublin is safe, she said: “I think people need to know that there is a strong Garda presence in our capital city, that they are safe to come into our capital city and there will remain a strong Garda presence. It was not safe last Thursday, clearly. But I want people to know that we have, for the most part, a safe city.
“I understand that there are many people who don’t feel safe and that is why that strong Garda presence, that visibility, Garda public order units, and they will be on our streets not just up to but including Christmas.”
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