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O’Brien urges support for Sinn Féin anti-bullying bill

23 January, 2013 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has called on all parties to vote in favour of the Sinn Féin legislation on bullying which will go to a vote tonight in the Dáil.

Speaking in advance of the vote Deputy O’Brien said:

“Bullying in schools is a serious and growing problem that greatly impacts on the mental well-being and physical health of pupils and teachers alike.

“It is a complex and difficult problem that can manifest itself in many different ways and inflict long lasting scars on its victims. At its worst, the physical and psychological damage to an individual can, as we have sadly seen in recent months, be a significant factor that leads to self-harm and/or death by suicide.

“There needs to be concrete action on this issue without delay and we believe that our bill would go some way towards addressing this worrying problem.

“The Sinn Féin bill sets out to introduce a legislative framework that should be implemented in conjunction with a whole school approach to bullying with clearly defined procedures that define the interventions at a school management level.

“I am disappointed that the Government has chosen to deliberately misrepresent what this bill sets out to achieve. Countries such as Norway and New Zealand that have significantly reduced the rates of bullying in schools which have enshrined in legislation and regularly update the guidelines that underpin how schools deal with this issue.

“It is simply not good enough to play party politics with an issue as important as this and I would appeal to all parties to support our bill tonight.”

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