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Gardaí examining social media posts referring to Michael D Higgins

Anti-lockdown groups on social media and Telegram channels criticised the signing of the law which paves the way for indoor dining.

File image of President Michael D Higgins.
File image of President Michael D Higgins.
Image: PA

GARDAÍ ARE EXAMINING content on social media referring to President Michael D Higgins after posts threatening violence were shared on Facebook and other platforms.

Several posts, including ones calling for the president to be killed, have been shared online in recent days after Higgins signed the law paving the way for indoor dining to be reopened.  

The president has been criticised by anti-lockdown groups on social media and Telegram channels for signing law, which they have argued is discriminatory.

On Wednesday, the president signed the Health Amendment No 2 Bill which will allow indoor dining to reopen for the fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid-19. 

Posts shared by anti-lockdown individuals about the president were still visible on Facebook until this morning when they were removed. 

A statement from gardaí said they are “examining some recent social media content which refer to the President of Ireland”. 

“An Garda Síochána considers any suggestion in respect of the threat to use violence and / or perpetration of violence in a general sense or against named individuals or organisations as a matter of serious concern and could potentially be subject to criminal investigation in respect of such matters.”

There was a protest outside Áras an Uachtaráin last week with placards calling for the president not to sign the Bill into law. The hashtag ‘NotMyPresident’ also trended on Twitter on the day the law was signed. 

A statement from a spokesperson for Facebook said the platform removes accounts that “repeatedly violate our Community Standards”.

“We work closely with the Gardai and provide a number of ways for them to contact us and report content,” the spokesperson said. 

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Bills enacted by the houses of the Oireachtas are signed into law by the president. The president does not have an executive or policy role and the president’s powers and functions are prescribed in the Constitution. 

There are some specific instances where the president has “an absolute discretion”, for example referring a Bill to the Supreme Court for judgement on its constitutionality. 

Earlier this week, gardaí launched an investigation into late-night harassing phone calls made to Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Ronan Glynn last weekend

A Facebook page posted a photo of Dr Holohan’s phone number and home address from an old phone directory last Friday, prior to the threatening phone calls being made. 

Additional reporting by Orla Dwyer 

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