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FG senator tells how troll who harassed him threatened to ‘sterilise my children’

In one message which was read to the court, the long serving politician was warned he was “going down”.

Fine Gael Senator Michael Carrigy (left) and David Larkin (right) who has pleaded guilty to harassing the senator.

David Larkin (42) appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court yesterday after pleading guilty last November to harassing Senator Michael Carrigy

David Larkin (42) appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court yesterday after pleading guilty last November to harassing Senator Michael Carrigy

Liam CosgroveSunday World

A Fine Gael senator has told of how a "faceless" tirade of online social media abuse ended with threats being made to sterilise his children.

Senator Micheal Carrigy said he had been left shocked and upset at an ordeal which has caused untold personal hardship both to him and his family.

David Larkin (42), with an address at Ardnacassa Lawns, Longford, appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court yesterday after pleading guilty last November to harassing the Longford based politician between December 20, 2021 and February 14, 2022.

Sergeant Paul Carney from Granard Garda Station said text messages and Facebook posts were sent to Mr Carrigy as well as one voicemail which had been left on his phone.

In one message which was read to the court, the long serving politician was warned he was “going down”.

“All you scumbag politicians scrambling for the door, now that Boris has s*** himself and caved into the people before he's f***** out of office and publicly hanged for his crimes,” it read.

"That's what you have to look forward bro. You're going down just like the rest of the scum. Don't think you'll escape Micheal, your time is soon up, enjoy it."

The accused appeared back before Judge Bernadette Owens on Tuesday to allow for the anticipated submission of a probation report.

Mr Carrigy, in reading a pre prepared victim impact statement into the court, said the entire episode had led him to question his own future in public life.

“Serious incidents like these make you question your position. Is it worth it? Is it my role and profile that is putting my family at risk? For example, constantly checking that the house door is locked and checking if any damage is done to our car.

David Larkin (42) appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court yesterday after pleading guilty last November to harassing Senator Michael Carrigy

“Will my involvement in public life have any effect on my children as they get older? There were a lot of sleepless nights during the period until this individual was arrested.”

He said “direct threats” had been made to both his children and family home, menacing taunts which he insisted “cannot be accepted in our society”.

Mr Carrigy said the first inkling of anything untoward surfaced in late 2021 when a series of comments on Facebook with the common theme of “going to train station” were brought to his attention.

He said the trend and content of those remarks led him to believe his office was being watched due to its proximity to Longford Train Station.

The former Longford County Council cathaoirleach revealed how a subsequent message received by him during the early part of last year caused him to contact gardaí.

“I received a text informing me that no amount of security at my home would stop them from getting in,” he said.

“A line had been crossed as far as I was concerned.”

After informing his wife of the abusive messages, Mr Carrigy said he was on the receiving of a far more sinister threat just weeks later, something which also led him to suspect its author was acting alone.

“A number of weeks later I received a voice message on my phone threatening to sterilise my children which upset both of us greatly,” he said.

“I believed that all messages, text, and voicemail were the same person.”

Mr Carrigy singled out the investigative efforts of Sgt Paul Carney in helping to bring charges against Mr Larkin, but said its fallout had come at a cost.

“Both my wife and I are hard working citizen of the state who pay our taxes,” he added.

“We are entitled to live our lives without having been threatened but most importantly we should not have the burden of having to worry about our children when they are in their own home, their school or at other activities.

“Being in public life is rewarding but it takes you away from your family for a large part of the week. It saddens and maddens me that she has to also put up with the stress and worry of threats made to our children.

“The wellbeing of my family is of the upmost importance and as a father, it is my responsibility to protect my family.

“Unfortunately, when a public life and involved in politics you get hardened to a certain level of abuse you shouldn’t have to, but it is a fact.”

The Ballinalee postmaster also said there was an ever growing onus on large social media networking sites to clamp down on such vitriol in order to ensure similar incidents are not repeated.

“There are so many faceless and nameless people on various social media platforms. Social media companies have allowed people to use their sites and need to take more responsibility for the large number of fake accounts on their sites.

In defence, Frank Gearty said his client was acutely aware of what he did to Mr Carrigy was “gravely wrong”, adding he also had read the Fine Gael senator’s victim impact statement in full.

Mr Gearty also insisted his client had since moved on from the “dark place” in which he found himself when sending the messages.

Sentencing was adjourned until May to allow for Mr Larkin’s continued engagement with the probation services.


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