Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy TD has called on the Government to take urgent steps to enact legislation to safeguard children against cyber-bullying.
Deputy Troy made the comments following the publication of legislation in the area by Senator Lorraine Higgins.
“I welcome the fact that another Bill has been published to try and tackle the scourge of cyber-bullying. The cyber-bullying directed towards Senator Higgins in recent months is disgusting and it highlights the need for urgent action” said Deputy Troy.
“Fianna Fáil put forward the Cyber-Bullying Bill in 2013 that included comprehensive steps to tackle cyber-bullying. If enacted the legislation will make it an offence to engage in cyber-bullying and it will also be an offence to assist it or encourage it.
“Currently there are no consequences for people who engage in cyber-bullying, and the victim is given little or no protection under current law. The lack of legislation in this area allows bullies to target children with little or no regulation or sanction. This has got to change.
“The issue of cyber-bullying has been well flagged in recent years. The Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon has repeatedly called on the Government to take steps to protect children against cyber-bullies. Despite this we are still waiting for the Government to take meaningful action.
“It is encouraging to see there is cross party acknowledgment that the issue of cyber-bullying needs to be addressed. However the Government has not given any commitment to deal with the issue. If they were serious about wanting to tackle cyber-bullying they would at least set aside time in the Dáil to debate the issue.
“This is a serious issue that warrants serious attention. The Government cannot be allowed to ignore the issue any longer” said Deputy Troy.