Friday, 18 December 2020
Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages
When I looked around the Chamber earlier, I thought that I was outnumbered by legal experts and barristers and I probably still am so I bow to some of the eloquent language used by my learned colleagues. Using normal language, I fully support amendment No. 1 and I do not believe that means I am saying the Bill is flawed. I do not think the Bill is flawed at all but Bills can be enhanced. The one part of the Bill I have a little bit of a difficulty with, and it is not a criticism, is that I think a three-year review is too long away. We are going to very quickly realise the ugly reality of Ireland today and waiting three years to conduct a review is a little bit too far away. I encourage Senators to submit a miscellaneous provisions Bill in the next couple of months. There absolutely will be one. The Minister of State will tell Senators that the Department has ambitions in respect of hate speech and stuff like that. There is definitely a forum for Senators to address some of the concerns they have raised in their very worthwhile amendments and I encourage them to do so.