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Advisory Council for Online Safety another ‘Talking Shop’

11 July 2018

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Government has abandoned appointment of Digital Safety Commissioner - Sherlock

Labour Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Seán Sherlock TD has slammed the Government for failing to appoint a Digital Safety Commissioner in the new Action Plan for Online Safety, describing it as another talking shop.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“Once again we have another talking shop that will stall any regulation of online safety and will do nothing to assuage the fears of parents who want a safe and regulated online space.

“There are 25 goals outlined in the plan but the only mention of a digital commissioner is in goal 18. This is a sure sign that there is no intention by government to establish such an office, despite their previous commitments. It should be front and centre of any proposals.

“Ireland is where every tech company that matters is located. To suggest that we have to wait for international best practice to evolve to move on digital safety is a cop out.

“I suspect that the government does not want to do anything that will upset tech giants that are located here. If they were brave they would seek to put Ireland at the vanguard of online digital safety.

“Instead of being ultra-cautious they should have had the courage to seize this opportunity. The global zeitgeist right now is online safety for children and parents through an open dialogue.

‘Parents do not want the laissez faire approach that the government is adopting. Parents everywhere want their children to be safe online. They demand and expect regulation and government intervention.

“This is a missed opportunity”