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Irish Kennel Club social media clamp down

Issue: 03/11/2017


Following a vociferous public debate online, letters have been sent out by the Secretary of the Irish Kennel Club (IKC) on behalf of its Board of Directors, stating that certain people who have written on a social media forum are being expelled from the IKC and that they are not in future to be permitted to enter dogs at any IKC event. 
The forum is alleged to have contained personal and damaging remarks about individual members and Directors of the IKC,   
The forum apparently has around 1,800 members and after the news was made public, social media was awash with criticism of the IKC for taking such apparently draconian action. Apparently the original remarks had been taken down of the page known as 'Irish Exhibitors Voice and Choice' which bears a similar name to a UK version. OUR DOGS believes that the administrator of the forum had been threatened with legal action and therefore removed the thread and comments.
Comments included statements like "Are the IKC going to censor anyone who make what they feel are uncalled for comments, and whatever happened to Irish Free Speech!"
"Censorship!!! by those in power to hold on to power in a small-minded organisation that really in the bigger picture means very little."
"How sad to see that a forum for discussion of dog issues in Ireland may have to close for fear of legal action."
Ivor Keelan, one of the people affected by the ban said: "If ever there was a clear confirmation that the officers of the IKC are completely out of control, this is it. Not only do they not tolerate anyone else's opinions, but now they threaten legal action against and force the closure of a Group that is supposed to be independent and over which they have NO control. Is this in the interest of the very people that elected them and whose welfare they are SUPPOSED to represent? 
'Now, more than 1,800 people are disenfranchised because of the IKC's intolerance of anyone else's opinions! Is this acceptable to everyone? Is the community going to actually do something against the naked bullying that has been going on for years or remain passive and slavish rather than take the action needed?"
The Irish Kennel Club was asked to comment on the situation and said:  "Like all Kennel Club's world wide the Irish Kennel Club and its members and Officers have to deal with unfounded, misinformed and sometimes libellous posts on public forums.
"The entire structure of The Irish Kennel Club from its foundation encourages and facilitates input from ALL our members by affiliating ALL Clubs and affording them the right to send forward a delegate to a General Assembly (193 at present). This Assembly meets 10 times a year and elects All Officers and Committees annually. This is a very open forum for those interested in presenting their views and is effectively the management structure of The Irish Kennel Club. It annually designates its powers to the various Officers and Committees and those elected are accountable to the members on every issue.
"The Irish Kennel Club has a duty and responsibility of protecting its democratically elected members from bullying and personalised attacks on Social Media.
"In this case a non member of our Club posted a long protracted, inaccurate post, castigating our structure, our officers and even our General Assembly and we took action against that individual. We also informed the host of the named forum of the dangers of providing a facility for this type of unacceptable behaviour."

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