Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

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


10:00 am

Photo of Lynn RuaneLynn Ruane (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 7, to delete lines 21 and 22 and substitute the following: “(1) The Minister shall, not later than three years after the commencement of this Act, carry out a review of the operation of this Act.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Minister, as part of the review, shall:
(a) concurrently review all enactments relating to harassment and related offences,

(b) the extent to which such enactments comprehensively address the relevant issues,

(c) the extent to which the State is complying with relevant obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, and

(d) whether further legislation is required to address issues arising under paragraphs (b)and (c).
(3) The Minister shall, not later than 12 months after the commencement of the review under subsection (1), make a report to each House of the Oireachtas on the findings of that review.”.

I welcome that this Bill, when enacted, will be reviewed. I am glad an amendment from Deputy Cairns was accepted on Committee Stage. My amendment seeks to put more detail on the shape of that review. It would require the Minister to ensure that all of our laws relating to harassment would be reviewed and strengthening legislative amendments would be considered. Concerns have also been raised with me that the significant changes made to this Bill mean that, unfortunately, it may not fully comply with the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women. This review would also ensure that such compliance would be checked and determined. This is an important direction to be giving in the review process. I would appreciate if the Minister of State could confirm that it is his intention to address all these issues in the review of the Act.


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