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hate texts

Tusla worker's phone was used to send journalist death threats

A garda investigation is now underway.

THE PHONE WHICH was used to send death threats to a journalist belongs to a Tusla staff member, can reveal.

The child and family agency has told that it does not condone “the use or threat of violence in any circumstances”, that it is reviewing the allegations and that it will “cooperate fully” with a Garda investigation into the matter.

The Irish Independent’s Niall O’Connor was sent the text messages after MEP Luke Ming Flanagan posted the political reporter’s number online. Following a request from O’Connor for a comment on a story, Flanagan took a screenshot of the email request – which included the political reporter’s number – and tweeted it.

Messages threatening O’Connor were subsequently sent to the reporter’s phone number.

The texts say “I would love to see you dead” and that the sender “would happily help to bring it about”.

O’Connor went to gardaí in Store Street to report the activity. An investigation was then launched by officers.

Tusla employee claims phone was lost has established that the phone from which the texts were sent belongs to an employee of the child and family agency Tusla. understands that the owner of the phone has told gardaí that the phone had been lost – and that they, therefore, did not send the messages.

Tusla sent a statement to this evening confirming that it had been “made aware of allegations against a Tusla staff member” and that the agency would cooperate fully in any Garda investigation into the matter.

Tusla does not condone the use or threat of violence in any circumstances and such behaviour by staff is contrary to the Agency’s code of standards and behaviour. The allegations will be reviewed by Tusla as a matter of urgency and HR processes will be invoked where appropriate, provided this doesn’t impede any Garda investigation.

Flanagan has since deleted the original tweeted image, uploading a version of the email which does not contain O’Connor’s personal details. Flanagan accompanied that tweet with the caption: “Niall was so upset that I deleted the tweet below. He doesn’t mind you seeing his number publicly posted elsewhere.”

In 2011, O’Connor posted his mobile number on an online forum as he attempted to gather willing participants for his college thesis on bullying. understands that O’Connor will now make a formal complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has been contacted for comment but no response was received by the time of publication.

O’Connor declined to comment due to the ongoing Garda investigation.

Read: UK investigation into Harvey Weinstein widens to seven women >

Read: Australian minister tells homeowners to ‘automatically’ tell Irish people to get away from their door >

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