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Stephen Donnelly: Involving my family 'is a line that should never be crossed'

The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said involving his family and home in a campaign against...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.22 9 Apr 2021


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Stephen Donnelly: Involving my...

Stephen Donnelly: Involving my family 'is a line that should never be crossed'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.22 9 Apr 2021


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The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said involving his family and home in a campaign against him is 'a line that should never be crossed'.

He was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast host Ciara Kelly to mark day 99 of 100 Days of Walking with the Applegreen rewards app.

 

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She asked him about being in the political spotlight, and the online abuse he receives.

He said it can be 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.

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

'My home was attacked'

Minister Donnelly also spoke about his home coming under attack.

He explained: "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".

'Getting more personal'

He said attacks on politicians are 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".

On the plan to drive down coronavirus rates, he said it is working.

"What's happening so far is really quite positive, there are three parts to our plan.

"Part number one: suppress the virus domestically - that's the measures, the walk-in PCR centres, it's the deployment of rapid testing.

"Second thing obviously is the vaccination programme; there have been issues, we all know that, it's actually going really well.

"And the third part is protection against imported variants, which is home quarantine, hotel quarantine, pre-flight PCR.

"So we have a plan and it appears to be working".

Stephen Donnelly: Involving my family 'is a line that should never be crossed'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly briefing the media on the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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100 Days Of Walking Ciara Kelly Coronavirus Family Home Attacked Newstalk Breakfast Online Abuse Pandemic Stephen Donnelly

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