What's all this about an ex-Fianna Fail TD, a fake Twitter account and an amateur detective? 9 years ago

What's all this about an ex-Fianna Fail TD, a fake Twitter account and an amateur detective?

August usually throws up some fairly mad stories but this one, involving former Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews, is definitely one of the weirdest. Here’s all you need to know.

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So a fake Twitter account. There’s loads of them around. What’s the big deal?

Well this is a bit more serious than somebody pretending to be Mario Balotelli or Jamie Redknapp on the old Tweet Machine.

Go on then...

This bizarre tale involves a former Fianna Fail TD named Chris Andrews. Andrews represented FF for one term, from 2007 until the last election, in Dublin South East. Unhappy with the way the party was going under Michael Martin, Andrews set up a Twitter account, @brianformerff, to criticize various things about the party.

That’s mad. What did he say?

He had a go at various individuals in the party organisation, locally and nationally, and he posted over 300 tweets from the account, many of which were highly critical of the party he was still a member of.

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So how was he found out?

This part is probably the weirdest part. According to the Sunday Independent, a man handed them a 35-page dossier which he compiled on the case. The unnamed man was unhappy at tweets @brianformerff had posted about his wife so he set out to prove it was Andrews, as he suspected he was behind the cyber subterfuge.

What did he do, stake out Andrews?

Yep, that is pretty much what he did. The man set up his own Twitter account, @john_cant _type, and attempted to engage with @brianformerff. The idea was to post up article links and then, once @brianformerff clicked on one, he would have his IP address.

Once he had that he tracked it to an internet café in Rathmines where he would wait for a tweet from @brianformerff to appear on the social media platform and then he would run to the café to try and take a picture of Andrews.

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This is odd, isn’t it?

Told you. Eventually this method paid off as he snapped Andrews in the act of using the fake account. The file was passed to the paper, who published it yesterday and Andrews has now left the party.

What has he had to say since?

Not much. The paper quotes him as saying he was “disenchanted” with the party. But he was also sorry. "I take full responsibility for it. It was the wrong thing to do. I regret doing it. For someone who is generally outspoken and not afraid to speak out, I regret that I did not say things publicly six months ago," he said.

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Aren’t the Andrews Family Fianna Fail to the core?

Yep, Chris’ grandfather Todd was one of the founders of the party. His father Niall and uncle David were both FF ministers, as was his cousin Barry.

That run might be over now…

For this branch of the clan anyway.

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What happens next?

Well, Andrews has left the party so they can’t discipline them. It just goes down as one of Ireland’s odder political stories.

That’s for sure.