Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

“Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.” – Declan Kearney.

“To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.” – Wolfe Tone.


This is the address by Declan Kearney at Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

This time 220 years ago Ireland was in the midst of dramatic political and revolutionary change.

It was described as ‘The time of the Hurry’ in the poem ‘The man from God knows where’ dedicated to Thomas Russell.

The United Irishmen were the engine of that change.

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin National Chairperson.

They took their inspiration from the new democratic and egalitarian ideals of the American and French revolutions.

They were Republican separatists committed to the promotion of anti-sectarianism, fraternity and equality.

They forged alliances across Irish society and mounted an unprecedented military insurgency in every Province.

In my own county the United Irishmen took control of towns like Randalstown and Ballymena. Local United Irish leaders such as Henry Joy McCracken, Roddy McCorley and William Orr remain household names to this day.

Jemmy Hope “The Weaver” from Templepatrick and his farseeing revolutionary vision became an ideological reference point for Fintan Lawlor and later generations of Irish Revolutionaries.

These and others personified the central tenet of emergent Irish Republicanism – the unity of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter.

Wolfe Tone famously summarised the United Irish Republican programme:

To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.”

As modern day Irish Republicans in the tradition of Tone, we are dedicated to the establishment of a national Republic, built upon equality, fraternity, unity and reconciliation between all citizens in Ireland.

Our primary aim is for an agreed, multicultural united Ireland, which celebrates diversity and equality, and shuns bigotry and discrimination.

Sinn Féin stands against all forms of sectarianism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance in society.

Today’s Ireland is one of huge social change and political realignment.

Partition continues to be the central fault line at the heart of Irish politics and society.

The imposition of the Brexit decision upon the people of the six counties has now magnified that fault line.

We are clear; Brexit is a by-product of partition and continued British jurisdiction in the North of our country.

It has now become a catalyst for a new realignment of politics in Ireland; in relations between this island and Britain: and, it is redefining politics in the British State and Europe itself.

Irish Unity has become central to the political discourse. 

Next Saturday in Belfast at the Waterfront our party will host a major national conference on Irish Unity to build on that discussion.

Many citizens are now looking beyond the Brexit fall out and towards new constitutional and political opportunities.

In the North, greater numbers of ordinary people are now more engaged with politics.

Young people have become increasingly politicised.

All that is reflected in the Assembly and General election results in March and just last week.

The election of 27 Sinn Féin MLA’s and 7 MPs with 239,000 votes is an historic high in electoral support for our party, and for progressive politics.

I want to thank every activist and supporter and all their families who contributed to these spectacular achievements; and also to all of our voters.

There is a building momentum for Irish Unity and in support of anti-unionist and progressive politics.

There is also a new, popular expectation of real, and substantial political change.

The people of the North have spoken.

Sinn Féin respects the mandate secured by the DUP.

But make no mistake Sinn Féin’s electoral mandate is a vindication of our pledge that there will be no return to the status quo: and I repeat; no citizen or section of society will be put to the back of the bus again.

In 1967 our parents and grandparents and others in this gathering set out to demand civil rights in the North. They were beaten and shot off the streets.

Fifty years later an equality revolution is happening in the six counties and it is being led by young people.

Agus tá siad tiomanta agus diongbhailte. Tá siad dearg le fearg agus tá muid go léir dearg le fearg.

For the first time since partition electoral support for political unionism has fallen below 50%.

These are the new realities.

And this is the new context for the current round of political talks.

Let us be clear – the political crisis in the North can be resolved.

The political institutions can be re-established.

However, that means the DUP and British government need to get the message – which they have ignored since Martin McGuinness’ resignation on 9th January.

So I will spell it out.

The equality and rights agenda is not negotiable.

Agreements previously made on equality, rights, parity of esteem and legacy must be implemented.

The Good Friday Agreement cannot be unpicked.

The political institutions must not be misused to advance institutionalised bigotry.

Continued refusal by the DUP and British government to accept these fundamental positions will create only one outcome: a future of permanent political instability.

The DUP have spent the last week in talks with the British Government trying to strike a deal which will keep the Tories in power.

As with Brexit, any deal with Tories will be bad for the economy, public services and for citizens.

This Tory government cares as little for working-class unionists as it does for working-class republicans.

Working-class unionists did not vote for Tories.

The DUP leadership know that. They know the north is of no consequence in Westminster.

Even Edward Carson recognised this nearly 100 years ago. He said:

“What a fool I was… in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.”

The central fact is the political process in the North remains overshadowed by financial scandals.

That is why Sinn Féin stood the DUP leader down from her position last January.

The focus on her future role in an Executive is completely misdirected and premature.

That discussion will only arise when there is an acceptable implementation plan to restore public confidence in the political process and ensures that the institutions will work on the basis of proper power sharing, equality, respect and integrity.

This is a serious situation, which demands a serious focus by all parties.

It is not a game, and it is certainly not a dance.

If the DUP really wants to go into the Executive, that party needs to decide whether it is now prepared to embrace a rights-based approach to government in the North.

Instead of pretending that a crisis does not really exist, the DUP should get with the programme.

If the DUP imagines it can wind back the clock, with a Tory side deal or not, and reestablish the institutions without adherence to equality and rights, then the DUP is indeed living in a fool’s paradise.

As for the two governments, instead of talking up the prospect of a successful outcome to these talks, they and the DUP should reread Martin McGuinness’ resignation letter on the 9th January.

It sets out exactly what is required to restore public confidence, and to create the conditions for proper government in the North.

We don’t need optical illusions; we expect change!

The new Irish government now carries a huge responsibility.

The failure of the last Irish government to fulfil its obligations as a co-guarantor for the Good Friday Agreement is a national scandal.

This dereliction of political leadership must end.

The new Taoiseach and his administration should now publicly disassociate itself from the pro-unionist, partisan position of the British government.

This Irish government should bring forward a comprehensive plan for Irish reunification, including:

     – A joint Oireachtas committee on preparing for Irish unity;

     – A government White Paper on national reunification; 

     – And, specific proposals for a unity referendum on the island.

This month 40 years ago and here at Tone’s grave our comrade Jimmy Drumm correctly observed that the achievement of national and social liberation relied upon the development of a popular progressive movement for change throughout Ireland.

Today we live in an Ireland of endemic financial scandal, political corruption, gombeen elites, discrimination and sectarianism.

The strategic position articulated by Jimmy Drumm in 1977 is now more relevant than ever.

The austerity programmes imposed by Fine Gael and the British Tories have entrenched social inequality, both North and South.

None of our children should have to live in fear from poverty or austerity; inequality or discrimination; or from intolerance or sectarianism.

Social inequality is the antithesis of values enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and the democratic programme of 1919.

Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.

Instead social inequality, political corruption and financial scandal have become bywords for public policy under Fine Gael.

The new Taoiseach seems determined to take his government further to the right.

If that is his intention, then he should call a general election now, and let the people cast its verdict on that political programme.

In those circumstances Sinn Féin will go forward with our progressive political agenda.

We know where we stand, and it’s not with the gombeen men, the crooks, or fat cats.

To paraphrase Tone Sinn Féin stands with:

That numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property.”

Irish unity has never been more achievable. 

But that goal is only inevitable when Republicans successfully persuade sufficient numbers of our people that an agreed, united Ireland will serve their interests.

The refusal of significant sections of political unionism to embrace a shared future, and divisions caused by deep-seated sectarianism, create enormous challenges for Republicans.

Yet despite that, we must continue to show generosity of spirit, and reassurance to our unionist neighbours in the North.

As agents of change it is up to us to reach into the wider unionist constituency.

As republicans in the United Irish tradition we have to demonstrate how their rights, traditions, and identity will be accommodated in a new constitutional framework of an agreed Ireland.

It is for us to convince them that it is far better for Irish unionists to exert their influence over a progressive Ireland, instead of being reduced to stage props for a right-wing British Tory government.

Sinn Féin’s policies on reconciliation and anti-sectarianism represent genuine contributions towards the development of reconciliation between Republicans and unionists, within Irish society, and, between Ireland and Britain.

These need to be internalised and mainstreamed within our political work, both North and South.

Our generation of Republicans are history makers.

Martin McGuinness atá anois ar shlí na fírinne, and whom we greatly miss here today, as well as others in our leadership, have brought us to this point.

Now it is for the rest of us to finish that work.

We must become the nation builders.

We must continue the transformation of Irish society.

Meeting these responsibilities requires a step change in our party.

We need to be always strategically focused, cohesive, flexible and creative.

Let us be clear: building popular support and political strength is not a plan for opposition.

Our political strategy is a road map for governmental power.

So that means Sinn Féin being in government North and South.

This is our road map to achieving national democracy and a united Ireland.

But being in government is not a vanity contest.

This party is not interested in acting as a prop for the status quo North or South.

Political institutions are not ends in themselves: they should be made to work as the means to make positive change.

And of course, we must avoid being defined by the nature of the political institutions.

Sinn Féin participation in the Dáil, Assembly, all-Ireland institutions and European Parliament must be at the heart of a broader momentum for political and social change in Ireland.

If change is to be people centred, then change must be driven by the people.

A popular democratic movement for transformation needs to be developed across Ireland.

That is a progressive coalition of political, civic, community, cultural and labour activists united in support of economic democracy, sustainable public services, equality, rights, and the welfare of citizens.

These are the means of modern Republicans today.

Ireland is in transition. Our party is in transition.

The process of leadership succession has already commenced.

We have begun to implement a ten-year plan to regenerate our party with more youth and women; and enhanced skills and capacity.

Mar sin, más cearta, cothromas agus Poblacht atá uaibh –  ná habraigí é – eagraigí, tógaigí, agus déanaigí é.

Bígí línne.

If you want equality and rights – if you want fairness in Irish society:

If you really want a Republic – then just don’t vote Sinn Féin:

Join Sinn Féin – and get your family and friends to do the same.

We continue to take our inspiration from Tone.

This afternoon in Bodenstown we stand resolute in the tradition of Henry Joy McCracken, William Orr, Roddy McCorley, Jemmy Hope, Betsy Gray and Mary-Anne McCracken.

Now let us go forward reenergised and confident, to mobilise and organise, and to achieve national independence and Irish Unity.

Vera Twomey Returns As Requested – Minister Hides

At the suggestion of ‘Minister’ Simon Harris, Vera Twomey returned to Leinster House today for an update on her issue with getting medicinal cannabis for her 7-year old daughter.

Mr Harris refused to meet her. Instead, aluminium barriers were in place to keep Vera and supporters at bay.

Some of the contributions at the subsequent protest are in this video:

There was a song, which makes up for my poor camera work. 🙂


There are photos here:

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Turas deiridh abhaile Martin McGuinness

As Gaeilge, cuirtear ‘taoiseach’ ar an ‘chief’. Sí fíor go raibh Martin McGuinness mar sár taoiseach muintir an phoblacht, muintir an fíor Irish Republic. Seo an turas deiridh abhaile Taoiseach Martin.

Martin McGuinness homecoming in the Bogside this afternoon

Posted by Derry SinnFéin on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The word ‘taoiseach’ is Irish for ‘chief’, or leader. Martin was a gifted leader to the people of the true Irish Republic. This is his final journey home.

Exhume bodies from Seán Ross Abbey – Cllr Martin Browne

“Seán Ross Abbey has to be added next to the list of homes for enquiry. An excavation and exhumation process must now be begun; each human so casually buried in unmarked grave should be recorded and treated with respect.”

After hearing of reports of small bones being ploughed up in the 1980s Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin has called for exhumation and respectful re-interment of young children buried in a mass grave in Seán Ross Abbey, Roscrea.

John Collins (Son of Teresa), Billy Watson (Father of Teresa) and Teresa Collins.

Cllr Browne said: “With the discovery of proof that 796 young children and babies had died and were buried unmarked in a septic tank in Tuam, our attention naturally turns to similar homes in our own locality. The Bons Secours Mother and Baby home in Tuam was only one such home, that operated in an uncaring Ireland to effectively imprison and stigmatise women who became pregnant without being married.”

“This went on for 4 decades, and in many parts of the country. In Roscrea, a similar home was the Seán Ross Abbey. It operated for about the same period of time as the Tuam home.”

“We like to think that bad things only happen in other places, and that the place down the road from us is just fine. It seems that may not be the case in Seán Ross Abbey in Roscrea.”

Margaret Rigney (Sister in law) and Teresa Collins

“Yesterday Teresa Collins of Portroe visited the home for the first time in 53 years since she was taken from there as a baby. Her family had to pay £100 in 1963 to secure the release of Teresa and her birth-Mother.”

“After several years of effort, and despite the efforts of the Nuns in the home, Teresa has made successful contact with her father in the last year, and the two of them went to the home together on Sunday 12th.”

“While there, Council worker Mike Donovan revealed that he had worked at the home in the 1980’s. When working in what is now the children burial ground, he said that the tractor he was operating ploughed up many bones, small bones, and the job they were engaged in was called off. The whole area is now changed, and this work was carried out by another contractor in the 1990s. The layout of the area in question is  now very different to the 1980s. There are two other areas on the grounds where there as yet unsubstantiated suggestions of unrecorded and mass burial of babies and children.”

“Seán Ross Abbey has to be added next to the list of homes for enquiry. An excavation and exhumation process must now be begun; each human so casually buried in unmarked grave should be recorded and treated with respect.”

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Day 7 – Still walking to save Ava from Simon’s sloth (and inhumanity)

Vera Twomey is walking to get medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava, who has Dravet Syndrome. She’s walking powered by a Mum’s determination to do what’s right for her child.

She has the full support of her family, and everyone she meets on her 200+Km walk in the cold of an Irish Spring. Everyone, that is, except the two Government ministers who should be supporting her at every turn. Those are the Minister for Health (Simon Harris), and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Katherine Zappone). Neither have lifted a finger to help.

The Government of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland have broken the promise of the 1916 Proclamation. That is the founding document upon which the Government lays it’s claim to legitimacy, and contains the phrases: “The Republic guarantees … equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally…“. That guarantee is demonstrably now void.

Yesterday we learned that Ava had a heart attack as a result of her seizures. She was aged 5 at the time.

Anger continues to mount as other Mums learn of the plight of Vera’s family. As the videos and photographs below show, Mums are starting to mobilise.

The cover picture is of Ava Barry, now aged 7.


The videos below are unedited.

What this is about as she leaves Emo, County Laois, is explained by Vera Twomey:

Some friendly faces in Ballybrittas:

Brian and Gino explain:

Arriving in Monasterevin, County Kildare:

What Vera wants for 7-year old Ava is perfectly safe, legal, and acceptable in other European states, and on most of the continent of North America and Canada!

Can you raise awareness of what this Mum must do for her child in the face of an uncaring State? Can you share this link or page to others around our planet? Can you do your bit to draw international attention to the shameful conduct of the Southern ‘Republic’ towards one of it’s youngest citizens?

If you’re an ordinary citizen who understands that a Mum shouldn’t have to battle alone against the State, here’s how you can help:

  • Can you share this post?
  • Can you raise awareness by phoning a radio station?
  • Can you send an email to simon.harris@oir.ie to complain about both his actions and inaction?
  • Can you phone Simon Harris’ office on +353-1-281-3727 or +353-1-618-3805?
  • Can you come out and walk with Vera?
  • Can you sign the petition?
  • Can you bother the TDs in your constituency with phone calls and emails?

Only people power can change this situation. That means you.

(You can see for yourself a video of young Ava here)

Still photographs from today (2017-03-05). These images are free to use in support of Vera and Ava’s campaign. (An attribution to photographer Fachtna Roe would be appreciated, but isn’t necessary)

(Previous days uploads)

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Selective ‘Outrage’ over McGuinness nomination for the Tipperary Peace Prize is hypocritical and crass

Of late, considerable coverage has been devoted to Martin McGuinness’ nomination for the Tipperary Peace Prize, most notably in the Tipperary Star, which was headlined with “ANGER MOUNTS” on its front page, as well as to referring to the supposed ‘outrage’ of McGuinness being nominated for such an award.

John Kerry (previous recipient of Tipperary Peace Prize) with RPG (rocket propelled grenade) during the Vietnam War.

To contend that McGuinness is ‘unfit’ to be recognised for his extraordinary peace-building endeavours in the North of Ireland on account of his involvement in the IRA is quite simply ridiculous and utterly obtuse. Such critics would do well to note that last year’s recipient, was former US Secretary of State John Kerry. In addition to his tenure in that office which is difficult to describe as being either ‘pro-peace’ or ‘non-confrontational’, Mr Kerry was a combatant in the criminally destructive Vietnam War.

Though in the later stages of the Vietnam War John Kerry would receive acclaim – and deservingly so – as an anti-war whisteblower, it does not negate the fact that he was the captain of a boat unit that was engaged in an operation renowned for its aggression and cruelty towards Vietnamese villagers and fishermen. Nonetheless, Kerry’s Tipperary Peace Prize Award was presented with not so much as an iota of disquiet or opposition; that silence in comparison with hypocritical the response to Martin McGuinness’ recent nomination.

Martin McGuinness attends the funeral of a Republican Volunteer.

Martin McGuinness’ nomination for this award makes sense and is completely deserved. As a leader of the Republican movement, Martin has achieved breath-taking results in working towards peace and justice in an fraught political environment; this is a state of peace which, for whatever its flaws, is substantial, too often taken for granted, and once thought impossible.

Martin and Sinn Féin have worked tirelessly and always in good faith towards making this process permanent in spite of the disrespect too often afforded to them by other actors, whether that be the current contempt and chauvinism demonstrated by the Tory Brexiteers, the arrogance of bull-headed unionists or the habitual negligence of the Dublin government and its institutions.

Martin McGuinness with other known equality and peace activist, Nelson Mandela.

What’s more, it is not like Martin’s co-nominees are without controversy themselves. Amal Clooney, Amnesty International and the ‘White Helmets’ civil defence organisation occupy a very partisan position on the Syrian conflict. They explicitly lobby for a forceful international military intervention against the Syrian government. The White Helmets in particular have attracted especial notoriety for its dubious overlap with anti-government militias; that undermines its ostensible position as a politically neutral and civil humanitarian organisation.

It must also be stated that it is disappointing that the ongoing peace process in Colombia has received virtually no recognition from the Tipperary Peace Convention in contrast to the preponderance of attention focused on Syria. In one of the world’s longest ongoing conflicts – stretching five decades – Colombia is on the brink of attaining a concrete and lasting peace. In a country that is seen as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist or human rights activist, this is an not an opportunity that can be let slip.

Martin McGuinness has done business with every leader from the Unionist community, even those who would not naturally be courteous towards him.

Sinn Féin have worked closely with the FARC rebel group to offer their extensive and long-standing experience in conflict resolution, and President Michael D. Higgins has also shown commendable and progressive statesmanship recently, when he visited Colombia. In so doing, he became the first European head of state to visit a FARC guerrilla detachment at a demobilisation camp.

These traits of leadership, dialogue and reconciliation are principles that Martin McGuinness has demonstrated consistently; to obscure them is disingenuous. To deny them outright is dishonest.

After his lifetime of service, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill poses with Martin McGuinness after being announced as his replacement for the upcoming elections, at a news conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland January 23, 2017. (REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

From: Sinn Féin Republican Youth Tipperary, Chairperson James Lyons.

Latest Social Protection figures reveal major problems within the application process – Denise Mitchell TD

Figures provided by the Department of Social Protection this morning reveal an underlying problem with how they are dealing with applications for Disability Allowance, with the high rate of decisions overturned said Denise Mitchell, Sinn Féin’s Junior Spokesperson on Social Protection.

Denise Mitchell TD for Dublin Bay North stated:

“Figures showing that 42% of applicants for Disability Allowance were refused, and on appeal two thirds of these were then accepted, highlight major problems that exist in the application process. This must be rectified.

“There are other payments too with high refusal rates. Sinn Féin’s John Brady TD questioned the Minister in the last two weeks on the large percentage of refusals for Carers Allowance with high rates of appeal going to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. Again, this demonstrated possible flaws in the application procedure.

“The high rate of decisions overturned by the Appeals Office make it clear that problems exist in the Disability Allowance application process. Forcing people who clearly have medical issues and need welfare to go through the extra procedure of an appeal is not acceptable. This needs action from  the Minister. I am calling on Minister Varadkar to rewiew these procedures as soon as possible.”

47 Cork schools require access to National Educational Psychological Service – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

On the back of a Parliamentary Question submitted to Education Minister, Richard Bruton TD, it has been revealed that there are 47 schools in Cork with no access to the National Educational Psychological Service. Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire expressed his concern and called on the Minister to address this lack of vital supports for children in Cork schools.

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said:

“On 17th January, in response to a parliamentary question tabled by a Sinn Féin colleague Carol Nolan TD, the Education Minister confirmed that 47 schools across Cork do not currently have access to a NEPS psychologist.

“On Saturday 21st January the Irish Examiner carried a report which outlined that 1 in 6 primary schools across the State have no access to a NEPS psychologist.

“The NEPS psychologist is the first stage to a childs access to a wide range of services, interventions and supports, allowing them to tap into their potential and prosper in education. So to have 47 schools in Cork which do not have access to this service is not only quite worrying, but has the added effect of stymieing the futures of many.

“Additionally, NEPS psychologists play a crucial role within schools in the event of a critical incident, for example a tragic death or other traumatic event.  In such an event the NEPS psychologist guides and advises school staff, who know the children well, to support and assist children and identify children who may require additional support.

“I have every intention of pursuing this matter further and will endeavour to identify the schools which do not have access. My party colleagues and I are calling on local and national services to do better, and for Minister Bruton and the Government as a whole to provide what is required. Such poor resources are putting children’s futures in jeopardy.”

Over 500 Schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologist for assessments – Carol Nolan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan has expressed shock at the fact that 544 schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologists for the purposes of carrying out assessments. The figures were revealed to Teachta Nolan in a Parliamentary Question response from the Minister for Education Richard Bruton.

Carol Nolan TD

Teachta Nolan said: “I have consistently highlighted the need for additional resources for the NEPS service and these figures reveal the extent of the gaps in the current system.

“321 schools have no NEPS psychologist available due to staffing vacancies, while a further 223 schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologist temporarily due to leave arrangements.

“As a former principal, I know only too well the frustration of securing an assessment for a child and the reality is that many principals have to scour through a list of private psychologists in order to secure an assessment under the current system.

“Due to the fact that the number of referrals for assessment are limited per school, many parents are forced to pay privately for the assessment to be carried out.

“The Government failed to provide any additional supports to the NEPS service in the most recent budget and there is a genuine fear among stakeholders that the new resource allocation model for special educational needs is paving the way for the elimination of educational assessments altogether.

“I am delighted that my offer to act as a rapporteur on behalf of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education in relation to a report on the NEPS service was taken up this week and I look forward to engaging with stakeholders on this issue in the coming months.”

Sinn Féin introduce bill to combat ‘revenge porn’ – Jonathan O’Brien TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien today introduced legislation in the Dáil to combat harmful “revenge porn” practices.

The Cork North Central TD speaking in the Dáil said: “In recent years, we have seen problems arising concerning the matter of ‘revenge pornography’; that is the deliberate distribution of compromising photographs and videos of sexual nature throughout social media networks and on the internet in general.

“Very often, victims are faced with the prospect of not being able to tackle this with images left online that future employers can see. This can give rise to extremely negative repercussions in a victim’s life.

“This Bill is based on the work of the Law Reform Commission and we are hopeful that it will act as a starting point for a solution to the problems that arise.

“Persons who fall victim to this practice, and who have these images disseminated throughout Twitter without their consent, usually uploaded by an irate ex-partner, should not have to live with the response that there is very little that can be done about it.

“Further, this legislation also seeks to tackle circumstances where photoshopped images appear where a person’s face is superimposed on the intimate parts of another person’s body. It should be an offence for a person to distribute or publish an intimate image of another person without the other person’s consent, or to threaten to do so. This is intended to deal with the intentional shaming behaviour referred to as ‘revenge porn’.

“We in Sinn Féin would like for this Bill to be the starting point of discussion addressing the much needed and overdue legislative reform of this area and are urging all members of the Dáil to support it.”