Deputy Costello, Green Party TD for Dublin South Central was today speaking in reaction to growing aggression levelled at politicians by the far right.
He began, “In today’s digital age, where personal information can easily be accessed and exploited, the presence of home addresses on ballot papers poses significant safety risk and should reviewed. This is especially true in light of the rise in activity of individuals on the far-right. Such individuals seek to portray elected leaders as ‘sellouts’ and ‘traitors’, which is designed to intimidate and spark violence.”
Citing a recent example he said, “Only last month we saw the inevitable manifestation of this hate when the home of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Cllr Hugh Lewis was attacked. That elected representatives might live in fear of such an event recurring is unacceptable in a democracy. We have also seen in the past a politician having his car set on fire in front of his house.
It’s not just politicians at risk here. The fact that the father of Cllr Lewis was the only individual home at the time highlights a further risk with this publicly available information. Politicians’ friends and family are, by virtue of association at risk. We have also seen journalists, librarians, and teachers have all been recently targeted with intimidation and violence. We must not allow the undermining political and democratic rights in Ireland today.
He concluded, “I have written to both the Minister and the Electoral Commission in relation to this matter. This change of protocol should take place before the local and European elections scheduled for June 2024. By doing so, we can enhance the safety and privacy of our elected representatives, thus offering a sense of security to them and their families and to our democratic processes.”