GARDAÍ in Limerick are investigating a social media threat made by Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) councillor John Loftus to cut an anti-water charges activist’s “f***in throat”.
Right2Water campaigner Greg Doran made a formal complaint to Gardaí at Henry Street on Monday afternoon after receiving a sinister private message on Facebook last weekend from an elected representative for City West.
The AAA expelled the councillor for his vicious outburst this Wednesday.
Cllr Loftus’s message read: “I tried to be nice. The next time I see you I’ll cut your f***in throat. Insult me and you are dead. See you Monday.”
Westbury native Greg Doran admits to a “running battle” with the AAA, of which he was formerly a member, on social media. He makes no secret about his dislike for the AAA and recently referred to them on Facebook as “scam artists” and a “cult”.
“They won’t stand up for anything. They don’t lead and knock everyone else doing it for no gain,” Mr Doran said about AAA in one Facebook post last weekend.
“They are as dishonest and crooked as Fine Gael and Labour,” he added.
The community activist claims he has tried on numerous occasions to call the AAA councillors to account about monies from street collections and the recent de-registration of the party.
Following his recent comments on social media, Mr Doran claims he received an abusive telephone call from Cllr Loftus around 11.30pm last Saturday.
“He was just ranting at me for about five minutes. I wouldn’t mind but he rang me from his holidays in France to rant at me,” the former AAA member told the Limerick Post.
Things took a more ominous tone around 3.30am when Cllr Loftus sent a death threat to the Limerick activist via a private message on Facebook.
Mr Doran has since reported the incident to Gardaí at Henry Street who are now investigating the matter.
Despite their conflicting political views, Mr Doran feels Cllr Loftus’ latest actions were wildly inappropriate for a public representative. He later tweeted the councillor’s threat online for all to see.
“It’s shocking that a councillor who was elected to represent me would act in this way. It’s a terrible way from him to behave. What shocked me more was the fact it has taken Limerick years to lose our ‘Stab City’ tag. This sets the city back 20 years. It’s very insulting,” said Mr Doran.
“He hasn’t picked up the phone to apologise. I have to take action. I have to take this threat seriously. I had to report it to the Gardaí and they told me they will be contacting Cllr Loftus about this threat. They took it very seriously.”
Cllr Loftus has since apologised for the remarks in the media and said that the threatening message was sent in a “moment of madness”.
“I’d never hurt anybody in my life, there’s no record of me hurting anybody in my life, I’ve never done anything bad to anybody,” the City West representative commented.
However, despite this move, the Anti Austerity Alliance expelled Loftus following a meeting in the city this Tuesday night.
A statement from the party said: “There is no context that justifies the threats he made. His behaviour has been a catastrophic misjudgment for a public representative and brings the AAA and the council into disrepute. As Cllr Loftus has refused to step down as a councillor we have now been forced to implement the decision and we no longer consider him a member of the AAA.
“This whole affair has been very regrettable. We feel the AAA has responded appropriately, promptly but with the necessary consideration. Our key concern was to oppose such behaviour, offer our apologies to the person threatened and then return to the key work of the AAA, which is building even stronger figures for non-payment of the water charges and ending once and for all the austerity attacks on our communities.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Limerick City and County Council said “it has been made aware of the comment that has allegedly been made and is investigating the matter”.
In March 2014, the AAA were urged to participate meaningfully with the Right2Water campaign in Limerick following claims that they attempted to undermine a public meeting in the city.
AAA councillor for City West, John Loftus, was due to speak at a ‘Stop Water Charges’ event organised by the Right2Water group, but dropped out at the eleventh hour, which was seen by some in the Right2Water group as an act of sabotage.