Northern Ireland news

Gardaí 'contacted' over Diane Dodds Twitter troll

Former economy minister Diane Dodds. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Mairead Holland

DETECTIVES investigating an offensive tweet aimed at a DUP Assembly member have contacted the Gardaí for assistance.

It is believed the person responsible for the abuse directed at Diane Dodds about her late son is based in the Republic.

The PSNI cyber crime unit has identified the account holder and established that they live south of the border, according to a report on RTÉ.

It said police are believed to have contacted gardaí during the week to request assistance.

The PSNI have declined to confirm the claims.

A spokesperson said: “Police routinely work together with police services in other jurisdictions when required.

“Investigations remain ongoing and we are unable to offer any further comment at this time.”

Gardaí also declined to comment, redirecting any enquiries to the PSNI.

The tweet, posted on New Years' Eve from an anonymous account which has since been removed, made a hurtful reference to the death of the former economy minister's son Andrew.

He was born with spina bifida and died in 1998 after contracting pneumonia just before his ninth birthday.

The Upper Bann representative described her late son as a "fun-loving" young boy, who had an opinion on everything.

Mrs Dodds has pledged to pursue the troll, and it is understood she is being joined by the relative of a Troubles' victim targeted by the same account.

She also criticised social media companies for failing to clamp down on offensive comments and said trolls were able to "hide behind a cloak of anonymity".

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