Senator Fintan Warfield contacts gardaí over barrage of threatening and homophobic online abuse

Online attacks on the Sinn Feín Senator then spread to in-person abuse as he made his way home from the Daíl.

A smiling young man in a suit outside a government building

Sinn Féin Senator, Fintan Warfield, has contacted the gardaí after an onslaught of threatening online attacks and homophobic messages across his social media accounts. The insults subsequently spilled over into real life when he was on the receiving end of abuse as he made his way home from Leinster House.

While openly gay Warfield has been on the end of homophobic abuse before by right wing commentators during his time in politics, things escalated hugely following an action by the political party, Aontú, who shared on their social media page a photo of him taken years ago.

The image taken from Warfield’s personal Instagram account showed him on holidays wearing a Speedo and a t-shirt of the Pope. The party shared it accompanied by the text, “Why is a Sinn Féin Senator purposely seeking to offend people’s religious beliefs?” It was subsequently deleted following online backlash with many suggesting the party were singling him out because of his sexuality.

Following the post, Warfield was then bombarded with homophobic messages and threats on social media, to the degree he reported some of the threats to the gardaí. The Senator also locked his social media profiles in an effort to stem the attacks, saying Twitter was becoming “the most homophobic and transphobic space” for LGBT+ people. He also shared he would contact the social media company to address the issue.

While the online attacks were worrying enough, a continuation of the abuse offline prompted further concern. In an interview with the Independent, Senator Warfield shared, “It became even more sinister and disturbing this week when I was walking home from work in Leinster House on Wednesday evening, someone said ‘alright pervert’ to me, unprovoked. I didn’t respond and just walked on. It just seemed too coincidental to hear that type of language on the street when online, words like ‘degenerate’ or ‘pervert’ were being directed at me.”

The online abuse directed at Senator Warfield comes not long after far right campaigners organised a protest outside the Daíl against the openly gay Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman. Calling themselves the ‘Save the Children’ rally, far right campaigners held pictures of nooses aloft, while a much smaller anti-racism and anti-homophobia group was attacked, forcing police to step in.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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