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Far-right posts featuring mock gallows outside Dáil remain online despite Garda investigations

It follows an analysis of posts across multiple platforms.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS featuring a mock gallows and which targeted politicians in the wake of last week’s Dáil protest remain online despite a Garda investigation into intimidation of TDs at the far-right demonstration.

The Journal analysed social media pages across multiple platforms which belong to prominent far-right figures who attended last week’s protest, and found multiple posts taking aim at politicians or featuring the controversial imitation gallows.

Meta and YouTube have both allowed content on such accounts to remain after reviewing posts and deciding they didn’t break moderation guidelines. TikTok has removed posts and taken down at least two accounts.

13 people were arrested for public order offences during the demonstration, and TDs and other Oireachtas staff were effectively trapped in the complex for a period after protesters blocked the Merrion Street entrance to the building.

Videos circulating online on the day showed Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae being escorted through frenzied protesters as he left the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee also told RTÉ radio on Sunday that she watched the protest while in her car with her nine-year-old daughter, whom the senator said saw the gallows prop.

The mock gallows, which featured photographs of prominent politicians around an effigy hanging from a noose, is now the subject of a Garda probe.

The Irish Times reported earlier this week that the prop is being investigated under laws relating to the incitement of hatred, public order, and against intimidating behaviour.

However, posts featuring the gallows and others targeting both Healy-Rae and Clifford-Lee remain live on platforms run by Meta at the time of writing.

The Journal has seen images of the imitation gallows shared on the Facebook page of one protester, as well as an Instagram video on another page taken during the protest which shows the gallows with images of politicians attached.

Another video circulating on Facebook, re-shared by Derek Blighe, the founder of anti-immigrant group Ireland First, an individual films newspaper images of Clifford-Lee’s RTÉ radio interview.

“She wants us to believe that a nine-year-old child understood what that [the gallows] represented? That’s nonsense,” the individual says.

“Even if she saw it, it would have been from a distance. It was a piece of wood with a dummy effigy and pictures of some people on it. I’m sure the child has seen scarier things online.”

The person also refers to Clifford-Lee as “a disgrace” and claims her daughter was referred to in the interview to “further propaganda” against the protesters.

A different video posted by Blighe also justified the abuse given to Healy-Rae as he left the Dáil on the basis that he has accommodated refugees in his businesses.

“Yesterday was just one more demonstration to show that people are angry,” he said,

“Michael Healy-Rae, a politician from Kerry, was – I won’t say attacked – but he was definitely had hands put on him and had a few things thrown at him.

“This is a man that has been making money from the fake-ugee crisis [...] while at the same time feigning to the Irish public and his constituents that he cares about them.”

It’s understood that Facebook does not consider the posts as meeting the threshold for removal under the terms of its community standards.

Two other protesters, Andy Heasman and Ross Lahive, also posted a video to YouTube about the protest last week, naming Healy-Rae and Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, who was also filmed being confronted by protesters on the day.

Heasman and Lahive have been involved in protests targeting libraries over books about LGBT issues in recent months

“They’re acting like the heroes, the politicians, the attention is on them in the country [and] they’re trying to milk it for all it’s worth,” Lahive says.

“But it’s backfiring because people are sick to death of politicians.”

Heasman suggested that, while he didn’t agree with all actions of protesters, events outside the Dáil could be justified because of the impact on politicians.  

“The anger that’s going on around the place, we’re seeing a small bit of that going on on Wednesday, but it’s all over this country right now,” he said.

“It justifies what they’re doing because they won’t be able to walk down the streets and this is what we’re witnessing.

“They can’t walk down the streets. Now I don’t condone what happened the other day, but they’re not giving us answers, they’re not giving us a voice.”

YouTube takes action to remove videos where they contravene its community guidelines, including cases of harassment or calls for people to be harrassed, neither of which is allowed on the platform.

The video remains online at the time of writing.

Three videos on TikTok showing TDs being harassed and intimidated at the protest, as well as accounts belonging to Blighe and another protester, have since been removed.

The platform’s guidelines state that it does not allow bullying or harassment, including language or behaviour that “harasses, humiliates, or threatens anyone”.