Naomi Long sends ‘I will not be bullied’ message to online trolls
Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister, Naomi Long, has said that “social media needs to do better” after she became a target of abuse online.
Naomi Long was targeted with abuse on social media on Wednesday evening after the Stormont Executive agreed plans to roll out a Covid-19 certification scheme.
Health Minister Robin Swann was also targeted in sinister graffiti in the last week.
On Sunday, Ms Long tweeted that she was grateful for the support and solidarity.
She said: “I’m strong, with an amazing support network of people who love and respect me.
“Anyone who thinks bullying will break me clearly doesn’t know me.”
Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, was among the political leaders who this week expressed solidarity with Ms Long.
The Sinn Fein vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, also tweeted: “The misogynistic abuse and harassment of women online is deplorable.”
Ms Long indicated that social media companies need to do more hold those who commit online abuse accountable.
“I do worry for young women, growing up surrounded by misogyny, sexism, bullying and body shaming, who might not survive such a pile-on.
“I worry for women who have a contribution to make to public life, but will see the treatment dished out to others and think twice.
“I worry for the women who share their lives with those involved in orchestrating such hateful behaviour.
“A thick skin shouldn’t be a prerequisite for public life. We shouldn’t have to toughen up.
“Social media needs to do better. Bullies need to be held accountable.”
She added: “Tomorrow, I’ll be doing my job as always. I will not be deflected. I will not be bullied. I will not give anyone that power over me.”
The Executive was divided over Covid-19 certification, with the DUP voting against the plan.
The other four Executive parties backed a proposal from Mr Swann that will see legal enforcement of Covid-19 certification entry requirements for nightclubs, bars, restaurants and a range of other settings from December 13.
Hundreds of people gathered in Belfast city centre on Saturday to protest against the plan.
The crowd gathered outside City Hall, with many people carrying anti-vaccine and anti-Covid certification placards and banners.