Passing of Criminal Justice Bill can have make a real difference – Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile
Speaking after the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2016 passed in the Seanad tonight Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Niall Ó Donnghaile said;
“Sinn Fein have for some considerable time now supported the ‘Turn Off the Red Light’ campaign. I want to particularly note the work of Sinn Fein’s former Justice Spokesperson Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn who worked tirelessly in support of this issue both within the party and within the Oireachtas also.
“The changes put forward in this Bill however must be accompanied by holistic and comprehensive support and awareness strategies and this is a view supported by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
“Tonight’s legislation is a broad and comprehensive piece of Law which will impact directly across various aspects of the Criminal Justice System. At its heart however, is the hoped that the Bill can work to protect the most vulnerable in our society from abuse and exploitation.
“Like other Senators during tonight’s debate, I welcome the provisions in Part 2 of the Bill that deals primarily with the sexual exploitation of children and includes offences to protect children against grooming, from online predators and strengthened offences to tackle child abuse images. We support the calls from the ISPCC to use this term instead of ‘child pornography’ due to the fact that this is the term that is used in international law.
“This Bill goes some way in catching up with the rest of Irish society who are demanding we change the law to reflect the ever-changing nature of exploitation in order to ensure Gardaí and other agencies can respond in a way that is relevant to the times in which we now live; laws which acknowledge that the ways to abuse and exploit the most vulnerable have changed and will continue to change.”