NORTHERN IRELAND: The coalition for Women in Journalism calls upon the Irish authorities to investigate the threats to Patricia Devlin, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

– Petition, originally published by the Coalition for Women in Journalism on 16 February 2021, acessible here.

February 16, 2021 – Award-winning crime journalist Patricia Devlin is subjected to death and rape threats since 2019. In April 2019, Patricia was targeted with an online troll campaign by members of a mob she had been regularly reporting on. They harassed her with misogynistic slurs and sent out threats of rape. In October 2019, the situation worsened when she received rape threats for her newborn son and became victim to the doxxing campaign which gave out the address of the journalist and named her family members.

In October 2020, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, sent a death threat to Patricia on her social media. When Patricia reported the threat to Facebook, the platform responded that it did not breach any safety standards, and thus will not be removed. Later, Patricia’s colleague received a threat of an “imminent attack” at the Sunday World and it appeared that threat originated from the same paramilitary group that targeted Patricia.

Patricia informed the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) of the threats she had been receiving, however, she received no response. In November 2020, Patricia filed a complaint with the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman for PSNI’s failure to investigate the threats. Patricia also requested the Scottish Police for their assistance in the case. Despite all the efforts from her end, Patricia was not informed of any developments regarding the case.

On February 12, 2021, Patricia’s name was depicted on graffiti alongside a gunshot target. This was the latest in a series of sinister attempts to threaten Patricia into silence.

Over the past few years, crime has steadily risen in Ireland in response to economic difficulties and the fallout with Brexit. A freelance reporter, Lyra McKee was killed in April 2019, the same month that the threats towards Patricia intensified. The publishers of three Belfast-based newspapers and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) also issued a statement in order to bring attention to the threats that the journalist community was facing.

A free and unthreatened media is an important facet of a stable, democratic society. Women journalists become especially vulnerable whenever the journalistic community faces such risks in a country, due to the gendered nature of the attacks they can be targeted with.

We urge the Northern Irish government to urgently address Patricia’s security concerns and assure her safety by arresting the perpetrators of the threats against her and bringing them to justice.


  1. Kiran Nazish, Founding Director at CFWIJ

  2. Ceren İskit, Research Coordinator at CFWIJ

  3. Katia Mierzejewska, Engagement Coordinator at CFWIJ

  4. Ayesha Khalid, Research Coordinator at CFWIJ

  5. Francis Hughes, Journalist, Author, Activist

  6. Philip Brown, Journalist

  7. Leona O’Neill, Journalist

  8. Grace O’Malley, Blogger

  9. Julie Gilmour, Councillor

  10. Judith McNeill, Councillor

  11. Jilly Beattie, Journalist

  12. Grace Bunting, Blogger

  13. Brendan Harkin, Legal Analyst

  14. Paul McKenna, News, Digital media production

  15. Liam Wilson, Manager

  16. Brenda Donnelly, Lawyer

  17. Thımas Elliott, Artist

  18. Jonathan McKerr, Artist

  19. Dr Michael Pierse, Academic

  20. Ciarán Arthurs, Project Manager

  21. John Devitt, Chief Executive

  22. Charmaine Kelly, Staff Nurse

  23. Katie Pritchard, IT Support

  24. Alison Park, Work planner

  25. Seamus Watson, Quality Engineer

  26. Eileen Crawford, Administration

  27. Ann Travers , Advocacy worker

  28. Culann McLaughlin, Telecoms

  29. Karl Lynagh, Manager

  30. Tommy Maguire, Manager

  31. Aidan Jones, Manager

  32. Conor McKinney, Ecologist

  33. Shaun Cassidy

  34. Denis Cairns

  35. Andrena McBrearty

  36. Vincent Canning

  37. Ruaidhri McAleenan, Carer

  38. Paddy Trainor, Voluntary Sector

  39. Philip Campbell, Cabler

  40. McLaughlin, Domestic Assistant

  41. Deirdre Taylor, Retired nurse

  42. Henry Monaghan, School Janitor

  43. David Keeley, Developer

  44. Dillon Lesley Ann, Carer

  45. Bill Maher, Retired

  46. Barry McDonald, Engineer

  47. Neil Sheridan, Labourer

  48. Stephen Coulter, Logistics operator

  49. John Mcguigan, Self-employed

  50. Paul Davis, Retired

  51. Joseph McElgunn, Self-employed

  52. Harriett Moore-Boyd, Textile designer & maker

  53. Claire Maxwell, Fire and Security Engineer

  54. Fiona Roberts, Teacher

  55. Claire Coyle, Legal Secretary

  56. Stephen Drew, Computer Programmer

  57. Gregory O’Neill, House husband

  58. Christine Mcveigh, Customer Assistant

  59. Rosemary Mcgreevy

  60. Sean Osborne, Support Worker

  61. Joe Hayes, Manager

  62. Eamon Melia, Carpenter

  63. Rorie Smyth, Civil Servant

  64. Tony Megahey, IT Manager

  65. Danny Walsh, Electrician

  66. Gary Russell, Unemployed

  67. Sean Quinn, Farmer

  68. Jeden Walsh, Graphic Designer

  69. Christine O’Mahony, Student

  70. Alan Freeman, Unemployed

  71. Brian Osborne, Clinical sales specialist

  72. Aobh Sharvin, Student

  73. Teresa Ginley, Recruitment consultant

  74. Alex McGuigan, Instructor

  75. William Gordon, Retired

  76. Orla Doran, Accountant

  77. Sean Mulholland, Chef

  78. Brian Guiney

  79. Neil Templeton, Company Director

  80. Derek Magill, Civil Servant

  81. Deirdre Rafferty

  82. Anthony McGonnell, Retired teacher

  83. Kim McMahon, Self Employed

  84. Clare McClure, Project manager

  85. Rosà Paola, OBC Transeuropa