The Alliance Party councillor Sorcha Eastwood has been inundated with support, after revealing she has been targeted with a “slew” of sectarian and misogynistic comments online.
The councillor posted an image of an expletive she received on her Twitter account, with the user having posted it under a link to an article around the politician’s desire to stand in a potential Lagan Valley by-election, if one is called this autumn with the return of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to Stormont.
Ms Eastwood has expressed a desire to stand in the seat again if there is an election, having cut Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s majority by 12,730 votes, from 19,229 to 6,499, in December 2019.
Writing online on Friday, Ms Eastwood said: “Just getting a constant slew of sectarian, misogynistic & generally nasty comments.
"Not going to lie; it isn't nice to wake up to this (and worse). But ill keep going because when others go low, we go high. Clearly some are threatened by a united community future & a strong woman.”
After posting the tweet, the councillor for Castlereagh south was met with a deluge of support online, as users condemned those sending abusive messages to the politician.
Her post on Twitter received over 1,700 likes on the platform, as users offered their good wishes towards the politician.
Former police officer and online safeguarding expert Jim Gamble said: “People who couldn’t lace @SorchaEastwood‘s laces showing what sad people they are. This form of bullying shouldn’t be accepted & those involved should be held to account. In the meantime mute, block & report.”
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland head Patrick Corrigan added: “Solidarity, Sorcha. I’ve reported this account. There can be no place for vile, misogynistic abuse on social media.”
Irish FA chair Stephen Martin said: “Really sorry to see this Sorcha. It’s nasty and unacceptable.”
While user Marc Grey posted: “If that’s the worst they have to throw at you, then you know you’re doing something right! The best revenge is to keep doing what you’re doing. Improving society will only make them eat themselves alive with jealousy.”
This week, the former First Minister Arlene Foster said she plans to campaign against social media trolling and harassment of women in the public eye, after arguing the abuse prevents women here from entering politics.
“As a public representative you do put on an armour of defence regarding your views and policies, but if the abuse is directed at those closest to you that is when the impact kicks in,” Mrs Foster told the Belfast Telegraph.