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Digital Safety Commissioner must be progressed – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

5 February, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Government and the Minister for Communications to progress the Digital Safety Commissioner Bill 2017.
The Bill was referred to Committee stage almost one year ago, and has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny.
Speaking this morning the TD for Cork South-Central said;
“Today is ‘Safer Internet Day’, and I believe it would be an appropriate date to update the public on how the establishment of a Digital Safety Commissioner is progressing.
“It was around this time last year that I moved the Digital Safety Commissioner Bill 2017 on the floor of the Dáil, and the point made by all Deputies in that debate was that there is a desire across parties to deal with this issue in a non-partisan and progressive way is true.
“We fear that as we as legislators prevaricate on this issue that a vacuum continues to exist in the online community, and that preventable damage is being done with no body to oversee child protection issues and an online educational programme about being safe online is lacking.
“I feel that in the 18 months that has lapsed since I first introduced this Bill that a lot of good work has been done. That said, we have far more work to do.
“The survey of over 1,200 children conducted by CyberSafeIreland, aged between eight and 10, found that almost 40% of children are speaking to strangers online with almost a third of them speaking to strangers every day or at least once a week. 
“Not only is this a startling statistic, but parents feel they are unable to do anything to protect their children due to an information gap that exists currently.
“Although a Digital Safety Commissioner would not be a silver bullet that address all of our concerns about children being safe online, it would go a long way towards making the spaces in which they operate a more transparent and positive environment.

“The Taoiseach and the Minister cannot keep on giving platitudes, it is the time for action; they need to move to putting a Digital Safety Commissioner in place."

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