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Concern Tusla chief says threats of protests outside public servants' homes need to be stopped

'The need to ensure the safety of people and their families in their private homes and the need for accountability for this type of threatening behaviour is clearly evident'

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Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

Tusla chief executive Bernard Gloster

Tusla has called for accountability for social media platforms which allow “harassment and threatening behaviour” towards public officials.

The Child and Family Agency said harassment of staff, particularly via online platforms, continues to be a concern.

A spokesperson for the agency said Tusla has recently engaged with social media providers regarding “defamatory tweets and online movements via hashtags, particularly a concerning trend recently of threats to come to the private homes of public officials”.

It raised concerns regarding the hashtag #BringItToTheirDoors, which it said was circulating online. The agency said it received a “disappointing” response from Twitter regarding the issue.

“The disappointing responses provided by Twitter to repeated concerns regarding the hashtag #BringItToTheirDoors is worrying.

“The need to ensure the safety of people and their families in their private homes and the need for accountability for this type of threatening behaviour is clearly evident,” a Tusla spokesperson said.

Speaking following a recent individual experience, the chief executive officer of Tusla, said he has no issue with lawful protests or people expressing their opinion on social media platforms.

Bernard Gloster said: “I have no difficulty with lawful protest in public places, complaint, or people expressing their opinion on social media platforms.”

“However, based on the responses received recently by Twitter to our legitimate concerns raised, it can only be interpreted that the platform accepts and stands over what we consider to be targeted harassment in the form of the hashtag #BringItToTheirDoors and the resultant carrying out of these threats.

“In the context of our own work this is of particular concern as our staff are involved in child protection and welfare work – some of the most sensitive and important work in the State,” he said.

A spokesperson for Tusla added: “Social media platforms have a responsibility to remove or halt posts and movements of this nature where clearly the target is no longer the workplace or role of an individual but their private home and family.”

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