Colm O'Rourke calls for Gardai to intervene on Twitter trolls

Paddy O'Rourke after his red card yesterday
Paddy O'Rourke after his red card yesterday

Meath legend Colm O'Rourke believes criminal proceedings should be brought against people who engage in abuse on social media platforms

The Sunday Independent columnist's nephew, Paddy O'Rourke, was targeted by Twitter trolls after he was sent off in the dying stages of Meath's first ever defeat to Westmeath in championship football yesterday.

One user threatened to 'knife' the netminder who decided to retweet a number of abusive messages posted on Twitter after the game.

It is not an isolated incident and Cork hurler Damien Cahalane suffered similar treatment earlier this year.

Speaking on Drivetime on RTE Radio One, Colm O'Rourke slammed the behaviour of these trolls as 'disgusting'.

“It [the defeat to Westmeath] hasn’t gone down well in the county at all,” O’Rourke said. “The abuse on Twitter of some players, including my nephew Patrick in particular, is just disgraceful.

“I think it’s time at this stage when the law of the land must apply in these cases when people are saying things an incitement to violence or an incitement to hatred.

“The Gardaí need to intervene in these sort of things – people are getting away with far too much with this online abuse.

“The danger of that sort of thing is out there."

O'Rourke suggested that inter-county players should think long and hard before joining social media sites like Twitter.

“And I think the players would be better off in general if they weren’t on Twitter at all, even though it is of benefit to some in their working lives," he added.

“There was even a situation when my own name was being used on Twitter by somebody else to abuse people.

“I think it’s time all decent people realise what’s going on. Players don’t deserve this after all the effort that they put in. They shouldn’t be subjected to it after a defeat.”