Gavan Reilly: Should politicians be defended? 2023

Your correspondent was struck by a thread made on Monday by Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe, who was criticized over an innocuous Shannon Airport tweet. Crowe supports moving services from Dublin to Shannon in his area.

After a tweet touting swift check-in and security, many demanded to know where he was going and whether the public was paying for a bank holiday merry. One even vowed to file a Freedom of Information request to find out the travel charges. It was a private vacation for a stag weekend (from which he did some media).

Focus on the substance rather than the fact that you can’t FOI a TD since the Oireachtas doesn’t oversee their communication. It highlighted the growing poison of public life, especially on Twitter, where cynicism reigns.

After 16 years on Twitter and becoming a renowned political journalist, that fear worries me. The Ditch may have strengthened the perception that politics and politicians are irredeemably corrupt. This isn’t true, but the climate there doesn’t encourage honest speech.

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