Counseling support for abused politicians considered by Irish government

Government Minister Shane McEntee's suicide linked to cyber and Facebook attacks

Over 2,000 attended the removal of the remains of Irish government minister Shane McEntee from his home to the church on Sunday as politicians discussed means of dealing with abusive behavior aimed at politicians. McEntee was buried on Monday.

McEntee committed suicide shortly  after he was targeted in many cyber forums including Facebook after he made negative comments about the amount of money some welfare recipients received.

The Government Minister with responsibility for mental health told the Irish Times she was  considering setting up a support system to help politicians.

“I am giving serious thought to bringing [qualified] people in to speak to different groups of TDs about how best to protect themselves from the venom out there,” she said.

“I feel that there are people out there who do not realise that it does not end there and there is a consequence of people receiving those comments. We do not all have the same resilience. Shane was such a sensitive and compassionate man and it is a tragic loss.”

Labour Minister of State Seán Sherlock said “There is a lack of understanding among those posting of the cause and effect of what they are doing. There is a cumulative knock-on effect.”

Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, stated “The level of vitriol and abuse has gone out of all proportions, driven by social media and radio programmes. This has a knock-on effect.”

Liam Twomey, a Fine Gael TD and family doctor, said  “The problems are always there. The lifestyle is detrimental to family life and personal life and is also detrimental to your health.”

Another family doctor, former Fianna Fáil TD Jimmy Devins, said “It’s an area that perhaps down the road people should look at: to make available support to TDs and Senators that is not necessarily there at the moment.”