The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has warned against an “emerging culture of hatred and intolerance,” which is being fuelled by far-right groups.
The federation criticised an increasing trend of right-wing hate campaigns that seek to discredit progressive politicians and groups.
The statement came on foot of a campaign against the Green Party’s Roderic O’Gorman, who was targeted with sustained homophobic online abuse. Fórsa and other unions expressed solidarity with the children’s minister.
In a related development, Fórsa recently joined an international boycott of Facebook advertising, which aims to force the platform to enforce stronger restrictions on hate speech and the spread of misinformation.
ICTU general secretary Patricia King said the attack on O’Gorman was a worrying example of a trend that needed to be challenged.
“There can be no place for such hate-speak in our public life. It is toxic, undermines free speech and democratic debate, and we cannot allow it to take root in our societies. As trade unionists we must be absolutely clear and forthright in our opposition to such campaigns and must challenge the shadowy groupings behind them,” she said.
ICTU called on social media companies to monitor the activities of far-right groups, and take action to stop hate speech on their platforms.
In a related move, Fórsa recently joined an international boycott of Facebook advertising organised by the ‘stop profit for hate’ campaign, which called on corporations and individuals to stop advertising on Facebook until the platform enforces stronger restrictions on hate speech and the spread of misinformation.
The union’s head of communications, Bernard Harbor, said that almost a third of the platform’s top 58 advertisers had suspended activity in July. “But small advertisers make up the bulk of Facebook’s revenue, so it was important for Fórsa to support the campaign,” he said.
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