It is time to address the issue of cyber bullying in the area of sport, a Fine Gael TD has said. Galway West TD, Hildegarde Naughton, who is Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications has written to Davy Fitzgerald in the wake of his recent public comments on the matter.
“I was struck by the recent comments of Davy Fitzgerald who highlighted the very real problem of abuse, bullying and harassment of players and sports managers on social media.
“As Chair of the Oireachtas Communications Committee, and member of International Grand Committee on this topic, I have been working on the issue of cyber bullying for some time. I recently met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg to highlight concerns in relation to the damaging effects such actions can have.
“Davy is making some very valid points on this topic, particularly in relation to sport, and he should be listened to. He tells of the damage this culture of abuse is doing to people.
“I have written to Davy and a number of relevant players, commentators and others involved in sports to a discussion on Government plans to crack down on such behaviour.
“As a result of the work of the Oireachtas Committee I chair, the Government now plans to introduce an online safety commissioner with powers to take down harmful communications. I look forward to this legislation being published and which the Communications Committee will be examining in detail.
“The input of sports people could be really instructive in advance of our work and that’s why I want to hear from them. I hope very much that they will take up this opportunity to meet with me on foot of my invitation.
“Sport provides endless pleasure and entertainment to the entire country. We cannot allow it to be ruined by armchair warriors who say the types of vile things online to a player or coach that they wouldn’t say directly to their face. This type of behaviour is damaging to both the individuals themselves and to sport generally and might well put young people off pursuing a career in their chosen code. It is high time we stamped out cyber bullying generally and it is time for a focus on sport.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Deputy Naughton’s invitation was sent to:
Kevin Reilly – Meath Football
Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh – NewsTalk – Off the Ball
Davy Fitzgerald – Wexford
Westmeath – Boidu Sayeh
Rob Kearney – Chairman – Executive Board – Rugby Players Ireland
Molly Dunne, Galway, Camogie (Sports Development Officer) – WGPA
Kieran Mulvey – Chairperson – Sport Ireland
Amanda Budden – Irish Women’s Soccer International