Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris has had his contract with the newspaper terminated following confirmation that he was involved in running a “fake” Twitter account.
Twitter has since suspended a total of nine accounts it believes are linked to an anonymous account contributed to by Mr Harris, according to The Irish Times.
As The Irish Examiner reports, the Independent newspaper group said they terminated the former Senator’s contract with immediate effect on Thursday evening and said the decision was taken by the editor of the Sunday paper, Alan English.
While Mr Harris was praised for his distinctive and unique voice over the past two decades, the newspaper said his position became “untenable” after it emerged he was involved with an anonymous Twitter account posting about Irish politics.
“Regardless of where they stand on any issue, we expect our writers to put their views across in a transparent manner. Readers can agree or disagree with these opinions. We will not, however, tolerate hidden agendas,” Mr English said.
Re Eoghan Harris, I've set out my position here and will have more to say on Sunday. I had the pleasure of meeting Aoife Moore this week, when she spoke about her outstanding work on Golfgate. Attacks on her by the Barbara J Pym account were contemptible
— Alan English (@AlanEnglish9) May 7, 2021
The newspaper said Mr Harris was among a number of people contributing to the Twitter account set up in February 2020 under the name of Barbara J Pym, which Mr English said at times went “far beyond” fair and reasonable comment.
“We regard Eoghan Harris’s involvement with this account as a betrayal of trust and as such his contract has been terminated,” Mr English said.
Peter Vandermeersch, Publisher at INM, said: “While we are very appreciative of his contributions over the years, we expect all our contributors to act in line with our core values of openness, transparency and the highest journalistic standards.
“We could not tolerate a situation where a columnist was contributing anonymously to a social media account which contradicts these core values.”
Political Correspondent for The Irish Examiner, Aoife Moore also claimed that the account sent her abusive and insulting messages when she started in her job.