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Taoiseach says Facebook's standards must be reviewed after posts about QIH executives left online for years

John McCartin said posts making claims about the executives had remained on the social media platform for years.

Posts about the executives making claims about some of the executives remained Facebook until Sunday night.
Posts about the executives making claims about some of the executives remained Facebook until Sunday night.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said Facebook needs to review its community standards after it was revealed that posts about senior executives of Quinn Industrial Holdings were left online for years. 

A colleague of Kevin Lunney, John McCartin, told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live last night that posts making claims about the executives had remained on the social media platform for “years”.

Lunney, who’s also the chief operating officer of QIH, was abducted from his car near his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh at around 6.40pm last Tuesday.

He was savagely assaulted at a second location before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan sometime before 9pm the same night.

The businessman had his leg broken, some of his fingernails removed and his neck cut with a blade during the ordeal. The Irish News reported this morning that Lunney’s attackers carved the letters QIH into his chest with a knife. 

McCartin said posts making claims about some of the executives remained Facebook until Sunday night. 

“I think they appeared on social media, on Facebook’s page, with the words ‘Cromwell’s men are back again’ and reference to the Shankill Butchers and that we had been through a kangaroo court and found guilty,” McCartin said. 

It was very frustrating that they stayed on Facebook until last night. The Shankill butcher reference, all those threats stayed on Facebook for years, right until last night. 

The Shankill Butchers were a notorious Troubles-era Loyalist gang who carried out a string of brutal sectarian killings, beginning in the mid 1970s. 

McCartin said they had “made every effort possible” to have those posts removed, but added that “they remained there until last night”. 

When asked about the matter in New York today, Leo Varadkar said given the particular events in Cavan, “Facebook needs to review its community standards”.

Nobody wants to restrict free speech, whether it is in the press, on the airwaves, in the street or online. But these particular posts relate to some very serious criminal activity and I do think that Facebook really needs to rethink its standards in that regard, in light of these events.
Certainly, from the government’s point of view, we are very much focused on securing arrests and securing convictions and bringing people to justice, that is why 150 extra gardaí have been assigned to the northern region in the past two years. And the armed support unit in Cavan and Monaghan will be operation in the next couple of weeks.

Facebook said it has removed a “significant number of posts” about senior executives of Quinn Industrial Holdings in recent years. 

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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