Dáil debates

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Report and Final Stages


4:30 pm

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour) | Oireachtas source

On Committee Stage and subsequently, the Minister indicated that there is a justice (miscellaneous provisions) Bill coming next year and that she will give further consideration to the instances concerned in light of it. There are cases where what I propose is warranted. I am asking not that a determination be automatic but that it be open to the court to make one. I trust the judges in this matter. The judges will be able to determine, on a pleading from a victim's legal counsel, whether it is an appropriate order to make. The judge would make the order.

The section states that it has to be an order in writing. All I am asking is to allow the courts the capacity to make such a determination, not to make it a requirement for the courts to make such a determination. There will be, if you like, a chilling effect on some people pursuing legal proceedings for harassment if they feel that their names will be in the public domain, having already been seriously damaged by online harassment. If the Minister of State indicates to me that this matter will be considered next year, and I accept his bona fides completely, I will withdraw the amendment.


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