We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Minister Anne Rabbitte RollingNews

Anne Rabbitte says she considered quitting politics after excrement thrown at her at meeting

Rabbitte said that she had been limiting public appearances since the incident at a meeting in her constituency in Gort.

MINISTER FOR DISABILITY Anne Rabbitte has stated that she thought about leaving politics after a bag of faeces was thrown at her at an event last month.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme about abuse in politics, the Galway East TD said that she had been limiting public appearances since the incident at a public meeting in her constituency in Gort.

“Back in January, there was a couple of moments there that night, when I queried myself as to why I do this. That’s the first time ever in my political career, I would have doubted myself,” she said.

The Fianna Fáil TD added that the negative comments she receives online after public appearances have also become a distraction from her work, causing her to limit the number of interviews and events she participates in.

“I don’t want to be derailed, defocused. I need to stay very clear visioned in my thinking process about what’s expected of me.”

“When men get abuse, they get abuse on the facts of the issue that’s being discussed. I find that when a female gets abused, it’s actually about their looks, their appearance, how they speak, how they conduct themselves, it’s a different target. It’s very personal.”

Despite what she sees as the gendered nature of the harassment, Rabbitte said she would still encourage women to get involved in politics.

“It’s a very rewarding job. You can make a huge difference to the local community, but also on a national level in relation to policy. So yes, I would encourage women to get involved.”

 ”I’m invited to a community event later on this afternoon, I’m just after getting off the phone with the secretary of the organization, just to get the running order of the event. Because you’re always looking over your shoulder to make sure and I shouldn’t have to.

“I’m in my own constituency. This happened in my own constituency, where I felt that I was amongst my own.”

“In the past I wouldn’t have ever given a second thought to it. Since January, I think of every move, I plan my moves, and I don’t do anything off the cuff anymore,” Rabbitte said.

She added that she has also reorganised her constituency offices in order to always have at least two staff in the building for their own safety.

“The Ceann Comhairle told me how he had spoken to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris in relation to this. And I do know that the Ceann is planning on having an evening with all female Oireachtas members to look at different elements of how to support us and how things have actually changed.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik appeared to discuss harassment of female politicians and commended Rabbitte for “speaking so openly and frankly, about her reaction to that awful incident in Gort”.

“It illustrates very starkly the reality that has been endured by so many public representatives around the country, TDs and senators and indeed counselors as well,” Bacik said.

“It’s not just women, of course male representatives are experiencing a good deal of this too, but there is a gendered aspect to it,” she said.

“Part of this very gendered experience we’re having is because there are so few of us, there’s still less than one quarter of the Dáil that is female.”

Bacik added that she believes social media companies need to better moderate online abuse, and that Labour’s general secretary had recently been in contact with Facebook.

“We’re requesting them to to do something about private online Facebook groups that are targeting some of our individual representatives around the country, the vicious abuse that’s being perpetrated online.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel