Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
41. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when she will reconvene the National Advisory Council on Online Safety; when the next meeting of the Council is scheduled; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22531/21]
The National Advisory Council for Online Safety (NACOS) was established as part of the Action Plan for Online Safety 2018-2019. It replaced the Internet Safety Advisory Committee (ISAC) which was a forum for stakeholders to share experience on the subject of internet safety and which had been based in the Department of Justice.
The role of the National Advisory Council is to:
- Provide advice to the Government on online safety issues
- Identify emerging issues where Government intervention might be needed
- Help in the creation of clear and easy to understand online safety guidance materials for all internet users
- Examine national and international research and communicate key findings to Government, stakeholders and the wider public
NACOS has been a useful forum for keeping relevant stakeholders informed about relevant online safety matters and for ensuring that different types of stakeholders - NGOs, industry and Government agencies – hear each other’s perspectives on proposals such as the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill.NACOS has also commissioned research on Online Safety matters, which has been delayed due to COVID 19, but which will be important for providing a trustworthy evidence base in relation to online safety matters and for informing the future work of the Council.
Following the change in Government and subsequent transfer of functions between Departments, I will now chair the group. Membership of the Council has been renewed and new members appointed where necessary. It is expected that the group will reconvene shortly.