Kilkenny TD John McGuinness hits out at ‘fake news’ on social media ahead of local elections
OUTSPOKEN Kilkenny TD John McGuinness has hit out at the onslaught of “fake news” in local political circles with just less than two weeks to go before the May 24 elections.
Speaking to Eimear Ni Bhraonáin on KCLR Live, Deputy McGuinness hinted that certain candidates are deliberately spreading rumours they know to be untrue for political gain.
And he warned against a culture where “everyone can say what they want and get away with it” without being really challenged on the truth or veracity of their claims.
He urged people to “test the truthfulness” of what is being said online before they make up their minds.
The Kilkenny TD also said today’s social media driven culture, whether nothing remains private, was also scaring away potentially talented candidates from taking an active role in local politics.
He added: “I approached a number of young men and women to encourage them to be part of politics in Kilkenny. They measured what that entailed, and they decided not to get involved … You’re open to all sorts of commentary, especially on social media.”
Deputy McGuinness and his constituency colleague, Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion, also gave their reaction to revelations about the unprecedented arrests of a superintendent, inspector and detective garda in the same day amid allegations of links to an organised crime gang.
According to reports this morning, the superintendent has been held on suspicion of “directly leaking” key information to a criminal gang about a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigation into their activities.
Deputy McGuinness, who played a key role in helping Garda whistle-blower Maurice McCabe to expose corruption in the force while he was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said: “We cannot let the experience and truth of what happened to Maurice McCabe to go away. We need a strong and accountable police force.”
Deputy Funchion (pictured below) added: “I welcome this. Nobody wants to see corruption but it’s naïve for people to think that it doesn’t happen. I think it’s good this is happening that they are going to take this seriously.”