Taoiseach: Irish Politics is 'angrier and more divisive' due to social media
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Taoiseach: Irish Politics is 'angrier and more divisive' due to social media

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin says that social media mobs are having a considerable impact on the day-to-day running of Irish politics.

Online outrage often places ministers under unrealistic pressure, as people demand decisions to be made "on the hoof" in response to social media frenzies, the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Speaking to the Irish Sun, Mr Martin continued: "I do think politics is becoming angrier and more divisive. I'm struck in the Dáil, even during this second phase of Covid, the same unity of purpose is not there and people are taking shots sometimes rather cheaply in my view.

"I have no issue with being held to account. I think that is important and serious questions have to be asked.

"I think the online and social media influence in politics is something we need to watch. I think it's become very divisive, very angry."

The Taoiseach expressed his concern that online outrage is beginning to influence policy decisions.

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He said: "It's dictating a lot of the trends in policy formulation. There's almost an immediacy in social media that is finding its way into the Dáil and I think we just need to calm it a bit.

"People want decisions made on the hoof. They want decisions made in 24 hours because there is a social media storm on a given issue and very often the accuracy isn’t great on social media on certain issues.

"I watched a documentary recently, The Social Dilemma, and I am reflecting on that and the degree to which politics can be manipulated and the degree to which movements can be developed. It's a new force in the formation of public opinion and ideas.

"It's a new force in the capacity of a platform to undermine a person, undermine a government, undermine a party. It opens up a whole range of challenges and I think we need a healthy discussion on it."