Crack Down on vile net trolls: Stamp out online hate

John Coulter with an Irish Daily Star column tackling views expressed on TPQ. It initially featured in Newshound on 11 March 2014.

Social media has an important role to play in ensuring the peace process remains on track, but many keyboard warriors need to think before they spew out their guff.

Tensions can be raised through the roof by our elected representatives, and that's bad enough without some of the unelected social media slabbers upping the ante with inflammatory statements.

In recent columns, I criticised Belfast county Orange Order boss George Chittick for urging Protestants not to learn the Irish language.

I also advised Shinner boss and Louth TD Gerry Adams that he should consider direct talks with the Royal Black Institution rather than the Orange Order because the latter was divided between the more militant 'townies' and the more laid-back 'country folks'.

Here's what I said to Adams:

Maybe the bold bearded one was being cynical? Maybe – like many in Sinn Féin – he knows the Orange Order is riddled with internal rifts over what policy to adopt with nationalist residents' groups?

That remarks seems to have sparked quite a stir, prompting one blogger to write directly to me with this bizarre opinion.

John – 'he knows the Orange Order is riddled with internal rifts' Who caused those internal rifts. The Orange Order needs riddled from top to bottom.

Riddled from top to bottom? Is this blogger seriously advocating a Tullyvallen-style massacre against Orangemen with such an insensitive, provocative and grossly sectarian statement?

I am a staunch defender of the democratic freedom of speech, but a line has to be drawn somewhere against people on social media who appear to be promoting genocide against a section of the Irish community. They need brought before the courts and jailed.

The phrase "needs riddled from top to bottom" smacks of the worst kind of ethnic cleansing and would be the type of tactic would have sat well with Hitler's henchmen when they were implementing the Holocaust.

This blogger clearly has no conscience for the Orangemen who were massacred by Provo gunmen at the Tullyvallen Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton. Four were killed in the attack with a fifth dying two days later.

It happened on my birthday – 1 September, 1975 – and next year will see 40th anniversary commemorations to remember the slain.

While two IRA gunmen sprayed the inside of the hall with machine-gun bullets, others stood outside and fired in through the windows.

The death toll would have been higher but for an off-duty member of the security forces attending the meeting who fired his pistol, hitting one of the Provos and forcing them to flee.

My dad was a Deputy Imperial Grand Chaplain in the Orange Order and as a schoolboy, I accompanied him to the Tullyvallen for a memorial service.

The lodge allowed me to sit in the Worshipful Master's chair and I could see the bullet marks on the lodge table.

It was a very unnerving and emotional experience to sit at a table where another human being had been murdered.

While this republican blogger is entitled to his sick opinion of the Orange Order needing to be "riddled from top to bottom", I urge the leaderships of both Sinn Féin and the SDLP to condemn such blatant racism.

Hopefully, it was not a member of their respective ranks who made this disgusting remark.

Stormont needs new laws to crack down hard on these social media cranks.


  1. John,

    You have joined the chorus of voices looking Councillor McIvor banned or censored. But his comments on riddling the Orange Order while vile fall far short of your own on this very site where you called for nuclear bombs to be used against civilian populations. You, polemically if you wish, advocated consequences for civilians much more horrendous in terms of both quantity and quality than Councillor McIvor. Why should he be censored or jailed and you not? Alfie Gallagher called for you to be put in the sewer and Ryan called for you to be censored.

    Do you not think that it is in the expression of those views rather than in the suppression of them that the real damage is done to the author of them? For example, had we banned you for advocating mass slaughter our readership would never have known that in your criticism of Councillor McIvor you were applying a double standard. And had we banned you both our readership might never have known that both of you shared such repugnant views.

  2. John-

    " Stormont needs to Crack down on these social media cranks "

    Yet John will be on the front line with the rest of us if Stormont cracked down on the TV and newspaper media Cranks-

    " one blogger to write directly to me "

    Well I wrote my opinion on the Quill if that is directly writing to John- it seems he has no problem telling white lies to his editor or his readers-

    Let's hope in the future that if the Orange order can stop marching in Catholic areas we can riddle them with love-

  3. "Stormont needs new laws to crack down hard on these social media cranks."

    This is absolutely the wrong approach. Experience shows when politicians attempt to draft legislation such as this, their definition of an offence conveniently covers any criticism of themselves, but also has unforeseen circumstances which criminalises the ordinary decent population.The danger to us comes from our governments, not Internet cranks.

  4. what peace process john. the international backers of this pathetic peace process killed one and a half million people in iraq not long after lauding themselves as peace brokers over here. that slaughter was over lies about WMD. they've been on a global slaughter mission ever since, sadly using shannon in this global tyranny. 50,000 libyans not that long ago. they got riddled. and then shafted by the shinners in dail eireann by martin ferris. pathetic hypocrite. and only the other day i see they are blaming the syrians and iranians for lockerbie. another genocide in the pipeline i fear.
    why dont you 'urge the leaderships' of your unionist parties and indeed any other to condemn these real genocides {carried out by your (as you see them) fellow countrymen} and not go off on one about imagined genocide's you have deduced from michaelhenry's silly remark. john, how about cracking down on real genocides on this planet.

  5. As someone who has operated a website for a few years I really do have mixed feelings about the whole concept of online censorship.

    We have received a comment informing us "We know where you are studying"- my co-editor was studying at Uni in Dublin at the time. Should we have published that comment? We decided not to, not because we were scared (on the principle that if you are going to put a bullet in someone's head, then in all probability you are not going to advertise it first on social media). We didn't publish it because we thought it didn't add to the debate. But it does trouble us that we are making a subjective judgement on freedom of speech

    Similarly we get regular insults from Scottish nationalists on twitter, FB and our website We do our objective best to publish as many as poss but if someone tells us "F-Off back to Ireland you orange barstewards"(btw neither of us are prods, never mind OO) should we print it?

  6. MH

    Tell John to take a hike, sure didn't the RUC 'riddle' the provos from top to bottom? And there was nothing imagined about that.

  7. maybe it was the RUC man who riddled the table... any pics john?

  8. As Mickey Henry’s notoriety gains a little more traction it becomes laughable when the question of censorship is raised to the point of wanting a law passed.

    Dr. Coulter such laws amount to gobshitery granted some things said become points of disagreement and are usually heckled rather than accepted.
    I understand no matter where Mickey goes he is hounded for his riddles and more often than not cryptic commentaries that I give up trying to crack years ago.

    As Anthony points out there is a dramatic difference between what we have come to accept as buckegitry from Mickey and yourself with the title of Dr. Wanting people bombed out of existence with your notion of a nuclear crusade.

    Would such a law grant you the right to call for annihilation and deny Mickey or any the right to have the odd minor outburst?
    If comments were weighed in shite Dr. Coulter yours would have to be on the atomic scale.

    I have read several comments here querying why you have a platform here I don’t mind that you have one here I wouldn’t agree with much you say but crying for censorship would have to include some of your inane, irresponsible commentaries.

    Anyway I thought the religious types were obligated under higher law to forgive and forget.
    We are talking about the OO a bastion of religious tolerance that insists upon kicking the pope(s) and branding Catholicism as evil.
    Perhaps we should just let them run the country then all our problems would be solved.

    Dr. Coulter obviously you are not an avid follower of this blog Mickey is notorious for his cryptic one liner that are over the top.
    I am not defending the indefensible as enough people were riddled whilst the OO is viewed as sectarian with many in the nationalist community I sincerely doubt Mickey’s comment is a popular view.

    The problem with policing social media being it makes it less social and more restrictive with selective censorship based on his insult against an institution you are aligned with.
    He is not selective with his comments as he has said many things against republicans that don’t follow SF and made a very indiscriminate comment on the victims of suicide.

    Should he be outlawed for stupidity as with all things Mickey he offers less in explanation for his unreasonable remarks with his modus operandi of shock value rather than any logical reasoning?

    Many of his opinions are not exactly popular on this blog he just swoops in shites on anything and bails his antics should be given the consideration they deserve which is none.
    Calling for internet censorship because he offended the OO hardly is advancement in silencing hate speech.
    The web is filled with it an impossible task and an unreasonable view as it is undemocratic we should be more than capable of tackling issues rather than trying to silence them.

    As I said Mickey takes a lot of deserved verbal criticism over his personal views he is consistent in acting foolishly and considering he doesn’t seem bothered being the fool your offense seems to give him a form of credit implying we should pay attention to his cryptic riddles and pointless antics.

    I can’t agree with riddling anyone but censorship is a fascist sail that only masks those censured if Mickey is being truthful even if we find it repugnant what gives the thought police the right to deny him his truth.
    The so called crime of being out of order should not carry a punishment unfitting the act.
    It is more sensible to pull him up over his comments but censorship only denies reasonable challenge.

    I would think we have enough restrictive legislation in the north do we really need more and in the case of internet censorship is or would be another waste of text payers money.

    A simple request post a comment here asking people their opinion on Mickey the riddler I doubt he will viewed in a popular light.

  9. Dr, Coulter it is a pity when the vile hate speech of that zealot religious clown Ian Paisley set the tone for sectarianism and whether we choose to believe it or not his bitterness shaped an ethos that is still present today.

    Would you agree that people like him who promote hatred should be censored?

    Mickey’s remark pales in comparison and without a doubt Mickey’s remarks are definitely not going to influence anyone.
    Unlike Paisley when he preached hatred of Catholicism and his imaginary papal conspiracy incited the mob mentality.

    Mickey is not a very charismatic character all he evokes is well deserved criticism.
    Censorship on the net would do nothing to suppress hate beyond the net.

    Would you be offended it his remark was the GAA should be riddled from top to bottom?
    Social media presents the opportunity to confront and challenge issues even minor indiscretions that are so ridiculous they are easily dismissed and put to sleep.

    All Mickey is guilty of is acting the maggot deliberately jabbing at people as I said he enjoys the shock value that somehow in his wee world doesn’t bother him.
    He probably has much more to offer but enjoys being the masked SF lone insulter.

    I wouldn’t read too much into his passing comments after all the only thing he motivates is the criticism he seems to thrive upon apart from that he has his funny comments and the occasional reasonable ones.

    PS: I am just gunning for a sardonic mention when you are handing out your amusing awards at year’s end you might have to add a new category for the cryptic Mickey Henry.

  10. there was a villain in batman called the riddler, got this from wiki

    The Riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles and word games. He delights in forewarning both Batman and the police of his capers by sending them complex clues. With this self-conscious use of a gimmick, the Riddler's crimes are flamboyant and ostentatious. The character is depicted as wearing a domino mask either with a green suit and bowler hat, or a green unitard with question mark prints. A black, green, or purple question mark serves as his visual motif.
    The Riddler is typically portrayed as a smooth-talking yet quirky character, motivated by a neurotic compulsion to commit crimes based on riddles and puzzles.

    think thats pretty close to michael henry. the mickey riddler.

  11. Grouch,

    I think Scotland Yard can now officially close the file as you exposed the true identity of our very own Mickey aka the Riddler.
    That was a good laugh I have never seen Batman but I think that suits Mickey and explains a lot.

  12. O’Neill,

    We try to stick as closely to the following guidelines as possible.

  13. im a bit of a batman villain meself here too sometimes tain bo.

  14. Grouch,

    Keep at it you have a way with being witty and serious when need be I have to give you credit for holding the fort at Sardonia.

  15. Grouch

    hang tight, don't resort to canabalism like the new world colonists. I'll be there with the oul brewing cert in a fortnight. Have the fags and femenists infested utopia yet? mite have tae divert the bus tae Lisdoonvarna.

  16. larry, bring the riddler with u. we can try and get him away from psf, theyre fryin his brain, the riddler will be grand after he gets some deprogramming.