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Joe Costello denies 'snooze' tweet

Twitter user claimed his campaign to stop reintroduction of third-level fees was dismissed by a ‘zzz zz’ tweet from the Labour TD. Costello says it was caused by an iPhone ‘glitch’.

Joe Costello
Joe Costello
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Updated 16.15

A LABOUR TD who was accused by a Twitter user of rudely dismissing him on the social media site with a nonsense tweet has denied that he sent the message.

Mature student Will McGrath tweeted several Labour TDs this week – including Dublin deputy Joe Costello – to criticise the current Government in relation to the possible reintroduction of third-level college fees. Nothing has been yet decided on such a reintroduction but it is understood that several solutions to the current funding crisis at third-level are being discussed at departmental level.

However, McGrath has been contacting media organisations to claim that Costello replied to his tweet about college fees with a ‘snooze’-style ‘zzz zz’. That tweet has since been removed from Joe Costello’s Twitter account. McGrath, an energy services engineering student at the Institute of Technology in Tallaght, saved a snapshot of it. The response from Costello’s account is at the top:

When contacted by TheJournal.ie today, Costello was out of the country and insisted that he had not sent the tweet. He said it was caused by a “glitch” on his iPhone and that when he spotted it, he deleted it. He said:

I haven’t tweeted in the last five days or so. I’m not foolish enough to tweet something like that. It must have been some glitch in my iPhone.

It seems that Costello’s phone may indeed be playing up. On August 4, it sent this tweet to @TheJournal_ie:

Today, Costello said that he had “never considered” replying to Will McGrath’s initial tweet about third-level education fees. He said:

I don’t use Twitter to have a debate or dialogue on issues. I had no intention of responding at all.

When asked what steps McGrath should take to have his complaint acknowledged, Costello said he would advise McGrath to contact Ruairi Quinn’s Department of Education as “no decision” had yet been made on the future structure of college fees. On McGrath’s reaction to and retweeting of Costello’s Twitter “glitch”, the TD said:

I see that he hasn’t tweeted that often. I think he’s using it as a mechanism to round up some more followers.
McGrath told TheJournal.ie that he has been active on Twitter for some time and has posted over 3,000 tweets. He said that Costello’s remark about McGrath trying to gather new followers by creating controversy was a “bit of a dig”. McGrath said:
He’s obviously a but uncomfortable with answering on the issue.

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