Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages


10:00 am

Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I completely accept that. However, while the intention of the perpetrator is irrelevant to the offence, the experience of the victim is a necessary element. That is where it becomes too complicated. It should not be about that. I appreciate that I have not tabled an amendment, which I probably should have. The very recording of an intimate image, even before distributing or publishing it, should not be about whether I find it acceptable or not. It should not happen. There should not be a recording of an intimate image of another person. It should not take place.

I come back to Senator Ruane's very valid point. I think the Law Reform Commission is fantastic. Its consolidation of legislation is amazing and it has always been a great resource to me, but its report in this regard is a couple of years out of date, and we have moved on as a society. What is permissible and acceptable regarding privacy and interference with privacy, and the threshold of what is now the assertion of privacy, is in a different place after a couple of months, let alone a couple of years. We need to come back to look at that at a later stage. Maybe that will be in the context of the review a couple of years from now, although for charges and arrivals to court for criminal offences, a year might be too soon. We need to have a threshold of what is okay in our society and we have an opportunity to do that in the future.


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