Commenting on the latest suicide of a young person who had been bullied on-line, Sinn Féin Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that the response of all relevant agencies must be stepped up. He said:
“I extend sympathy to the bereaved in this latest tragedy and to all who have been bereaved in this way. On-line bullying and bullying of young people in general is clearly a very significant and growing problem in our society. For this reason I raised it with the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald in the Dáil last week, as a Priority Question.
“I urged the Minister to engage with the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Skills on the issue of school bullying of children by children and the grave implications of this targeted abuse on mental health in youth and in later life.
“I acknowledge that the Education (Welfare) Act requires schools to have a code of conduct but the evidence suggests that the address of the issue of bullying is most often down to the individual initiative of the school principal. We need something a good deal stronger. We need to make this central to our address of this serious problem.
“All agencies need to step up their response – including schools, Government Departments and the Gardai. Their efforts must be directed at helping children and parents to address this growing problem and to help prevent further tragedies.”