Diane Dodds vile tweet: fellow MLA quit Twitter over ‘constant abuse and hatred’

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford, in commenting on the abuse received by party colleague Diane Dodds, said he made the decision to leave Twitter because of the way the platform is used by some.

By Graeme Cousins
Monday, 3rd January 2022, 5:29 pm
DUP's Christopher Stalford left Twitter after abuse
DUP's Christopher Stalford left Twitter after abuse

He said: “I left Twitter because it is just awful. The constant abuse and hatred is unhealthy to take day in, day out.

“This [tweet] has to be one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Totally wicked.

“I extend my absolute support to my colleague Diane Dodds MLA. As for the person responsible, they are from the pit of hell.”

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

Following a post from Mrs Dodds, who is married to former MP Nigel Dodds, wishing her followers a happy new year, an anonymous Twitter troll replied with an abusive message making reference to her dead son Andrew.

Andrew was born with spina bifida and died in 1998 just before his ninth birthday.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart, who in the past has spoken out about the abuse she has suffered on social media, described the message to Mrs Dodds as “horrific”.

She said: “Incidents like this add more weight to the need to regulate social media. It doesn’t need to be a ‘big brother’ over-monitoring but there does need to be an easy way for law enforcement to deal with vile trolls like this.

“Unless you have experienced the loss of a child you can never walk in those shoes.

“Diane and Nigel have continued to be vocal and ever present representatives in Northern Ireland for the greater good, putting their loss and experience into building a better future for children with spina bifida. They should be praised for this.”

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Troll who sent vile message to Diane Dodds no longer on Twitter

Before the account went out of action, UUP leader Doug Beattie said: “This account is truly vile. Please report then block and have him removed from Twitter. This abuse of Diane Dodds is utterly disgraceful.”

Alliance Councillor John Blair said: “Online trolling and abuse hit a new low with attacks directed at Diane Dodds MLA and Nigel, Lord Dodds of Duncairn. Support and best wishes to them both.

“Good people rally at times like this but that doesn’t stop the hurt. It’s time for action on online abuse cloaked in anonymity.”

DUP’s Pam Cameron said: “Sending my full support to my kind and caring friend Diane Dodds. Her family have faced various forms of attacks from extreme republicans over the years and this targeted, anonymous online abuse about her late son is another low.

“The remarks about his disability are despicable.

“It’s time for PSNI action against those behind these abusive accounts who obsessively troll many of my colleagues, especially if they’re female.”

Alliance’s Julian McGrath said: “Twitter and other social media platforms need to offer these vile individuals up to the PSNI within minutes. If they can’t then the platform itself should be held accountable. It should be up to them to ensure that all accounts are traceable.”

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