Online threats to Derry City Council chief condemned

Sharon O'Connor has quit social media after the online backlash
Sharon O'Connor has quit social media after the online backlash

Threats made to a council chief executive over a redundancy payout have been condemned by Derry City Council.

Reports that Sharon O’Connor was in line for a £275,000 financial package when the new Derry and Strabane super council became operational on April 1 sparked an online backlash.

On December 31, one Twitter user suggested that if she happened to be shot then the payout would no longer take place.

The following day Ms O’Connor posted her own message in response, saying she was temporarily quitting social media due to her being, “subject to a sensationalist sexist campaign based on misinformation and innuendo” about her “employment and redundancy”.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Derry City Council said that, while not commenting on any individual cases, “no [financial] enhancements have been awarded over and above clearly defined entitlements”.

She added: “Derry City Council also takes the suggestion of any acts of violence against its employees very seriously and will be working with the relevant authorities to follow up on any relevant investigation or actions.”

A PSNI spokeswoman said; “We do not discuss the security of any individual. However, if we believe someone may need to review their security we take appropriate steps and inform them immediately. We would never ignore information that could put a person at risk.”

Alliance Policing Board member Trevor Lunn condemned the threat to Ms O’Connor. He said: “She should be able to carry out her duties without having to fear for her safety. I hope that the police will catch those responsible and I would urge anybody with any information to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers.”