In what is believed to be one of the first cases of prosecution for social networking in Northern Ireland, 20-year-old Matthew McKenna 21-year-old Dean Boyd have been fined for making sectarian posts on Facebook threatening to kill "taigs" (Catholics). The two Northern Irishmen pleaded guilty to sending the messages and were fined £400 ($634) and £250 ($396), respectively.
McKeena, a factory worker, made a comment which named Sinn Fein Northern Ireland Assembly member Daithi McKay, who reported the posting to the police. McKenna also said: "Let's show the scum in Rasharkin (a village where many Catholics live) how it is done. God save the Queen. For God and Ulster, Kill all taigs. Lest we forget."
McKeena's lawyer said he did not realise the comments were public. Boyd's lawyer meanwhile said Boyd had removed his offending post within 20 minutes, which he made on his birthday after he had been drinking.
Boyd's message said "kill all taigs" and "f*** the Pope." He is an unemployed father-of-one, and surprisingly both his wife and child are Catholic.
"I hope you realize how inappropriate and stupid your comments are," Judge Richard Wilson told the men, according to The Belfast Telegraph. "It is comments like this that excite and exacerbate any tensions within this community and we can well do without it."
"No-one would get away with making such comments in the street and it is important that a message is sent out that sectarian comments and threats such as this are not acceptable and in this instance can inflame tensions," McKay said in a statement. "Sectarianism is a scourge on this society and all sectarian death threats that are made in any context need to be taken seriously."
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