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'Sinister': Anti-lockdown groups sharing database of school principals’ contact details

Groups opposed to Covid measures are urging people to contact principals with questions about mask mandates and vaccines.

The list is being shared in groups on the Telegram app.
The list is being shared in groups on the Telegram app.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

ANTI-LOCKDOWN GROUPS are sharing a large database containing information on the principals of nearly every primary school in the country, urging people to contact them to probe their views on vaccinations and mask wearing.

The list contains the names of over 3,100 principals of primary schools across Ireland, which is the vast majority of the primary schools in the country. It lists the schools’ phone numbers, addresses, eircodes and email addresses as well as noting the local authority where the school is located.

There are also mobile phone numbers given for dozens of the principals on the list.

The database is being shared in anti-lockdown groups on the Telegram messaging app, where people are being encouraged to call principals to get their views on Covid measures like masks for children and vaccines.

On Telegram the database is being touted as a “leaked” document containing “every Irish primary school principals name, email address, phone number etc.”

However the document is not leaked, the Department of Education publishes an updated version of the list on its website every year as public information.

The list is being shared in messages containing coronavirus conspiracy theories and Telegram users are also being directed to a website for instructions on how to use it. The website then prompts them to join a Whatsapp group.

“Please share this message far and wide. We are hacktivists and we will not stop. Love to all,” one of the messages promoting the database reads.

Senator John McGahon said the Telegram activity around the list is “sinister” and an example of “clear cut intimidation.”

“As if teaching during a pandemic wasn’t difficult enough, they now have to put up with these ‘online activists’, who have all the time in the world and clearly nothing better to do with that time, going around compiling lists of personal details to target individual principals and their schools. It’s totally and utterly wrong and it needs to be called out,” the Fine Gael Senator said.

Anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown groups need to be called out. Instead of placing their faith in science, experts and empirical data, they choose wacky conspiracy theories that they read on the internet.

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A spokesperson for the ​​Data Protection Commissioner said any organisation creating such a database is required to comply with data protection law.

The commissioner is urging anyone affected by the matter to make contact and provide further information.

The Journal has contacted the Department of Education for comment.

About the author:

Stephen McDermott & Céimin Burke

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