Coughlan keeps mobile phone despite receiving abusive texts

Coughlan keeps mobile phone despite receiving abusive texts

Coughlan keeps mobile phone despite receiving abusive texts

SUE DOHERTY

sue.doherty@donegaldemocrat.com

Tnaiste Mary Coughlan was among members of the cabinet who received abusive texts at the weekend. Although other ministers, including Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, changed their phones, a spokesperson for the Tnaiste said she had decided to keep hers.

"The only comment I will make is that, from Friday night, the Tnaiste received text messages with abusive content. Despite this, she is keeping her phone," the spokesperson said.

It is understood that Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Health Minister Mary Harney, as well as other members of the cabinet, were also targeted.

The Sunday Tribune reported that a trade union circulated the contact numbers for TDs and asked members to lobby them about the cut to the minimum wage. which was passed in the Dil on Friday. Politicians were "inundated" with messages and calls on Friday morning.

Later on Friday, after the cut had been passed, the politicians' mobile numbers were also posted online. It was after this that a number of "aggressive calls and texts", some originating from outside the state, were received.

Some MEPs and opposition TDs also received abusive calls and texts.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP said he was not among them. "My number is widely available as I believe it is people's right to make contact with their public representatives. However, it is not necessary to use abusive language."

A spokesperson for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions told the Tribune that, while it was not "appropriate" for some of the numbers to have been distributed, all of the numbers distributed were work numbers which were funded by the taxpayer.

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan and Taoiseach Brian Cowen pictured at an Enterprise conference.