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Government ‘dragging their heels’ on much needed Digital Safety Commissioner – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

26 September, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has today accused the Government and Department of Communications of dragging their heels on the establishment of a much need Digital Safety Commissioner.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“This afternoon I raised the establishment of a Digital Safety Commissioner in the Dáil with Minister for Communications Richard Bruton.

“The summer months saw a great deal of discussion on this, and there is a huge amount of concern among parents in particular about the child protection implications of it.

“Every so often the Minister re-announces his intention to legislate as if it is a new idea. The background is that this was first proposed by the Law Reform commission in 2016. The bill based on that proposal which I proposed passed second stage a year and a half ago, but is stuck at committee due to the lack of a money message.

“The response I got was simply another promise that his Department were taking action in this regard. We have had promises of action in this area for far too long, and their inaction on this issue is no longer tolerable.

"The reality is that we have no bill and no sign of heads. We need more than just talk on this, and see actual legislative action. I don’t understand why Government doesn’t simply work with the Bill that is already in the system, and has the support of our committee.

“Digital safety has been branded as the child protection issue of our time by experts in the area of child protection.

“The urgent need to address this deficit cannot be understated.

“The Government and the Department of Communications are dragging their heels on this. I understand there are technical difficulties that require ironing out, but they are not insurmountable, and is no excuse for not having as much as Heads of a Bill published at this stage.

“This is a failure on the part of this Government, not only to children, but to society more generally."

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