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Minister must tackle technological advances in child sex abuse – Ó Laoghaire

17 November, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on Minister Katherine Zappone to publish a Report submitted to the Government by Geoffrey Shannon, Ireland’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, which make recommendations of significant changes with regard to Child Protection in Ireland.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:

“I understand that the Report recommends that the Government, and particularly Minister Katherine Zappone, must tackle the use of technology in child sex abuse, which I believe is a long overdue reaction.

“According to the report by Mr. Shannon, it is recommended that there be an amendment to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 that would allow this to be legislated for as a matter of urgency.

“To the best of my knowledge, the Child Trafficking & Pornography Act of 1998 is the most up to date piece of legislation that we have to safeguard children, which is extraordinary when you think about it.

“With the speed at which technology advances, it’s quite worrying that our most up to date laws are nearly 20 years old, and no doubt are outdated.

“Endless amounts of material and information are now accessible at merely a click of a button on a hand-held device. More and more children are now using these devices in their everyday lives.

“I think it is in the interest of both the government and the Minister to deal with this in a proactive manner as we simply don’t know who or what has access to children when they sit down with their iPads or iPhones.

“I hope the Minister will publish this report in the very near future, it raises significant issues and concerns that must be dealt with as a matter of priority, and have already been ignored for too long.” 

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