Friday, 18 December 2020
Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Second Stage
I commend Senators Hoey and Ruane. I listened to the debate today and last night and the way they spoke on the issues makes me honoured to serve with both of the Senators. I just wanted to say well done. My wife, my family and I have also suffered harassment from a person, and we had to go the full way to court on it because of the effect it was having on our young kids and family. I am delighted to say that it was successful.
I commend the Labour Party, Jackie Fox and her family, and the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, on bringing the legislation to this stage. We have also seen the recent uploading of images of individuals against their will. It is not acceptable. As Senator Ward said in the Chamber some weeks ago, we as men need to stand up and say it is not acceptable. When such images are shared, we as men need to say that it is not good enough and it is not acceptable.
Domestic violence does not just take place behind closed doors. It is now part of our daily lives through our mobile phones, through our laptops and can come in many forms, not just images or verbally. As our lives change with technology, it is important that we legislate for the new forms of communication, which is what the Bill does. I welcome the Bill.
I agree with Senator Doherty when she speaks about educating our children about posting on social media. I strongly believe that we need a programme throughout our schools to educate the younger generation on the effects that social media can have. I firmly believe that Facebook and Twitter should fund this programme. The taxpayer should not fund it. I fully call for the companies to fund the programme on the effects of social media to be delivered throughout our entire school system.
I look forward to working with Members when the online safety and media regulation Bill comes before the Oireachtas joint committee. I look forward to having an input and hearing the input of other Members to make sure that the legislation covers all the aspects needed.
I fully support the Bill before the House today. It is important that no other life is lost due to this. I commend Senators Hoey and Ruane, and I am honoured to serve with them here in the Seanad.