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Minister called "scumbag b***h" by anti-water charge protesters

Ruth Coppinger has said the comments ‘do no favours’ to the anti-austerity movement.

EDUCATION MINISTER JAN O’Sullivan has been targeted by anti-water charge protesters online.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) claimed O’Sullivan, a Limerick TD, confronted two ‘We Won’t Pay’ activists last week while they were holding an information stall on the footpath outside the Grove Island shopping centre in Limerick.

The ‘We Won’t Pay the Water Tax – Limerick’ Facebook page then posted an unflattering image of O’Sullivan, under which insults were made.

jan

The Limerick Leader said the minister was called a “scumbag b***h” and “f*****g champagne socialist”, while one commenter threatened to “throw her under a bus”.

The page administrators deleted the comments and posted this message: “Please bear in mind, this page is not for personalised and sexist insults and they will be removed.”

AAA TD Ruth Coppinger also spoke out against the insults, stating:

Can people criticise Jan O’Sullivan without resorting to sexism and offensive insults. It undermines our campaign and plays into the negative image of us that the media and government likes to portray.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk today, Coppinger said the type of language used in this instance is “not unique to people who are campaigning against water charges and austerity”.

She said the remarks were “not damaging” to the campaign but don’t “do us any favours”.

Coppinger said the AAA will always “condemn” racist, sexist or personalised insults.

She said sexism is “endemic” in politics and society in general, stating that women experience it “if you put your head above the parapet in any way”.

The Dublin West TD said she has been the target of sexism in the past, noting that she’s often told to “smile more”.

You’re not meant to be looking smiley and pretty. You’re there to do a job for the people that elected you.

She added that government ministers are being targeted because they have broken their election promises.

O’Sullivan said she is “going to completely ignore these comments”, adding: “It says an awful lot more about the people who wrote them than it does about me. I am not going to get into a Facebook row – I speak to people’s faces.”

What is the Socialist alternative to Irish Water and water charges?

Enda and Joan look beyond water … to getting your vote

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Órla Ryan

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