European Parliament candidate Michael O’Dowd’s son Conor has Down Syndrome
Irish politician Michael O’Dowd has slammed the abuse that his 24-year-old son Conor, who has Down Syndrome, receives online.
O’Dowd, a candidate for the political party Renua in the upcoming European Parliament elections, revealed to the Irish Mirror that his 24-year-old son has been the target of horrific online abuse on Facebook and Twitter.
O’Dowd said: “This stuff came into my account and I was absolutely shocked and upset.”
“The worst one was the one about the retard.”
“It was a few weeks before I could tell my wife about it, it was that bad, and I knew she’d be upset as well.”
Long but rewarding day in Phoenix Park. Great day for the Parish!Publiée par Michael O'Dowd sur Dimanche 26 août 2018
“To think that people would think so little of those with Down Syndrome, or people with special needs.”
“It’s a new low, definitely, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”
“They were all from anonymous sources, I did look into it.”
“These famous keyboard warriors that make a comment and then disappear - they’re just cowards really.”
“The retard one (on Facebook), I deleted it straightaway because it was so upsetting, but the Twitter ones I did report them to Twitter and asked them to investigate, but frankly they’re pretty toothless and said that they were not going to take any action.”
He added: “They’re not up to it at all, they’re essentially about the bottom line and profits so they don’t want to be cutting off people in terms of comments, which is absolutely and totally outrageous.”
A spokeperson for Twitter told The Irish Mirror: “We don't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons."
“Our Hateful Conduct policy strictly prohibits direct attacks toward people on the basis of protected categories such as disability, race, gender, age or religious affiliation.”
O'Dowd said that the offensive tweets have since been taken down.
Renua has said that the treatment of Conor O'Dowd is "dreadful:"
This is dreadful @ModowdMichael. Conor is a great, young fella. He has and will contribute more to the world than the disturbed, unhappy trolls ever will.— RENUA IRELAND (@RENUAIreland) April 30, 2019
Earlier in 2019, O’Dowd, a native of Drogheda in Co Louth, was selected as the political party Renua’s candidate in the North-West Midlands constituency for the upcoming European Parliament elections.
When he announced his run, O’Dowd said: “'On a personal level I also want to throw a light on the treatment of people with disabilities. The HSE has let those of us concerned about this issue down badly. Their negligence needs to be highlighted and exposed.”