Councillor caught up in Facebook controversy

by Aisling Kennedy
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A heated debate took place on Dublin City Councillor Paul McAuliffe’s Facebook page during the week over on a post that began as a discussion on the future of derelict Finglas pubs the Drake Inn and Barry House.
As locals became more involved in the post, the Fianna Fail councillor’s brother Gavin McAuliffe took exception to some of the comments made about his brother and began to reply with comments that some people felt were inappropriate.
When one commenter wrote a remark about Cllr McAuliffe’s appearance, his brother sprung to his defence and said: “You really love yourself there don’t ye,” and then followed his comment up by using a screengrab of the man he was conversing with and writing: “I can picture you now.”
He also asked the man what he worked at and added: “Working since 18, what were you doing before then lazy hole.”
Following on from Gavin McAuliffe’s comments, another commenter retaliated and said: “Don’t kid yourself, you’re no man, I will make sure your brother will answer to your personal attacks on the people of Finglas when he next shows his face at my child’s school.”
Following on from the posts on Cllr McAuliffe’s Facebook page, one commenter later noted on a separate Facebook page that: “While being questioned by his constituents on his page, his brother saw fit to go into the profiles of those questioning his brother, copy their pictures and use them to insult them on their appearance.
“Paul seems to think this is acceptable of a public servant and not once did he attempt to stop his brother’s childish antics or remove the offending tripe he was posting.”
When asked by The Gazette what he thought of the debate on his page, Cllr McAuliffe said: “Everyone is entitled to comment, I tend not to get into big long debates on Facebook.
“I use it as a way of getting feedback from people in the area and it’s a great way of doing that.”
He added: “I think social media has huge benefits for example engaging with your community, organising community events and I think that’s really positive.
“However, I think any online bullying is completely unacceptable.”
Cllr McAuliffe said that in general, he tries to operate a policy of not limiting debates on his page but in this instance, he thought that this particular argument started to get out of hand and so he shut down the comment section and made it available only to friends.
Cllr McAuliffe said: “I never did that with a post before but I did feel that it was being used for something that wasn’t connected with the post itself.
“I totally have no tolerance for online bullying at all. I felt that this was not a useful conversation, it was about a really important topic of conversation in our area and quite a lot of people who were commenting were not from Finglas and have other political affiliations.”
At the time of going to print the post was still active on Cllr McAuliffe’s Facebook page.

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