Friday, 18 December 2020
Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages
Senators will be aware that the requirement to review the Act within three years of its commencement, in section 12 of the Bill, was introduced by way of an amendment on Committee Stage in the Dáil. While there is already a requirement under Standing Orders to carry out a post-enactment report in respect of all new legislation within one year from the date of its passing, I appreciate that this is not always enough time to gather clear data on the impact of the new legislation. It was agreed, therefore, that the Bill would be reviewed within three years. It is not necessary or desirable that such a review should encompass a review of all legislation relating to harassment or related offences or the requirements of the Istanbul Convention. The requirement to review the Bill is sufficient and will naturally encompass other issues surrounding the Bill.
My Department engages in regular consultation with other justice stakeholders and interested groups regarding the operation of the criminal law and where gaps or issues are identified, they are reviewed and addressed as appropriate. I am satisfied that, for these reasons, the amendment is not necessary. Unfortunately, I cannot support it.