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abuse campaign Minister Stephen Donnelly says attacks on politicians are getting 'getting worse and more personal'

'I've been in politics now for 10 years, and there's a level of abuse and personalisation that just wasn't there 10 years ago,' Minister Donnelly said.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has spoken out about the effect that attacks on him personally and on his family have had on him.

The minister told Newstalk Breakfast host Ciara Kelly that when it comes to his home and his family, it is a “line that should never be crossed”.

In February, a security fence was erected outside health minister’s home that he shares with his wife and three young children after "a number of incidents" prompted security concerns.

The 6ft (2m) wooden fence was built outside the minister's home after what sources said were a number of incidents which included items being thrown at windows and left on the doorstep.

Mr Donnelly told Newstalk Breakfast that politicians were human and no one wanted to be attacked, but that it was becoming increasingly difficult.

"I know what we're all meant to say 'Sure we don't notice any of that stuff' but that's nonsense.

“We're all human and none of us want to be attacked - we're living through really, really difficult times. People have been through so much and therefore there is a lot of anger, there is a lot of frustration, there is a lot of pain.”

"And inevitably if you're one of the public figures of this, you're going to attract attacks.

"And does it effect you? Of course it does."

On his family becoming involved, he said: "When it comes to your home and when your family get brought into it, that's just a line that should never be crossed.

"It shouldn't be tolerated...but we've got to make sure that politics is something that people aspire to do.

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"What I'm doing right now, professionally, is by a million miles the greatest honour of my life".

“But there was a week there in the Dáil - I was in early, I was preparing for a Q&A session on vaccines - the family home had been attacked.

"There was a lot of things going on and then up on my phone popped an article that was being written.

"I didn't read it, but the headline was enough - there are moments where it just goes 'Jesus'... we're all on the same team here, we're all trying to do the best.

"Does it matter? Yes it does, but you have to just compartmentalise it".

He also said attacks on politicians is getting worse, and more personal.

"I've been in politics now for 10 years, and there's a level of abuse and personalisation that just wasn't there 10 years ago.

"It's getting worse and worse - certainly people I talk to, good people who you'd love to see run for office, they just laugh at me and say 'Why would I do that?

"Why would I put myself out there and take all of this abuse?'"

He also said a lot of abuse can be gendered, with "an additional, really nasty misogynistic piece for women."

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