People should need to show proof of ID to set up a social media account to deal with the 'growing problem' of anonymous trolls, a Fianna Fáil senator says.
Malcolm Byrne said he believes there must be repercussions for anyone who posts something that is "vile, hate speech or defamatory".
He was speaking after DUP MLA Diane Dodds was targeted with a tweet about her dead child.
The tweet from an anonymous account prompted widespread condemnation, with the PSNI now investigating the incident.
On Newstalk's Late Breakfast, Senator Byrne said the tweet was "vile" and "frankly disgusting".
He argued that it shows social media companies' self-regulation "has clearly failed".
TDs and senators are currently working on online safety legislation that would see social media firms regulated "for the first time" - and Senator Byrne says he wants to see users required to provide "some way of identifying themselves" when they sign up for an account.
He said that doesn’t necessarily mean giving your passport or drivers licence directly to Twitter or Facebook, suggesting it could perhaps be done through a ‘digital intermediary’ instead.
He said: “For instance, if you’re opening a bank account… you have to provide proof of identity.
"Similarly, in this instance, if I have an account that appears to be anonymous or pseudonymous… that’s fine, that’s about freedom of expression.
"But where something goes into territory that’s defamatory or represents hate speech… there has to be a way for gardaí or Twitter to take action.”
One of the main arguments against requiring proof of ID is that it would damage freedom of expression, and that it would introduce another significant barrier for the likes of anonymous whistleblowers.
Senator Byrne said anonymity is important for those reasons, but that some action is needed to stop online abuse "undermining our democracy" and impacting on people's mental health and well-being.
He said: “It’s fine if you want to express your own opinion - but be willing to be held accountable for it if you tweet something that is vile, hate speech or defamatory.
“There has to be repercussions for some of these actions.”