Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle, Flynn say new bill must empower victims of online harassment

Pringle, Flynn say new bill must empower victims of online harassment

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, and Independent Senator Eileen Flynn said the new bill designed to combat harassment and harmful communications must empower victims and survivors. Deputy Pringle said: “The Harassment and Harmful Communications Bill does, finally, define the crime of image-based sexual abuse. This is a crucial step forward for securing justice for people who have been abused. Labour first brought this bill forward in 2017.


“At the same time, I have my concerns about the bill. After consulting with advocates and victims, I had been pushing over these weeks for a number of amendments that I believe would have strengthened the legislation. “Instead, Government limited debate and they dismissed so many of the amendments. “We are glad to see this bill pass, but we must watch closely to make sure this bill serves the people it was intended to serve,” he said.


Deputy Pringle brought amendments to the bill forward through the Justice Committee and also brought amendments to the floor of the Dáil this week, when the bill was debated. However, Government did not accept most of the amendments Deputy Pringle brought. Deputy Pringle said: “One of the amendments the Government did accept called for a review of the bill in three years, and we look forward to that review, to ensure this bill is empowering victims and survivors.”


Senator Flynn said: “When we talk about harassment and harmful communications we are talking about actions that can cause long-lasting harm to people. “I would like to remember Dara Quigley, a great activist who is no longer with us. I would also recognise all the advocates and activists who have been such a force in raising awareness of the need for this bill. “We have been listening to advocacy groups and victims, and their voices and their experiences are in the amendments that came forward. “I feel in rejecting those amendments without proper debate the Government was not listening to them.


“We’ll be watching this bill, we’ll be listening to the victims, we’ll be talking to them. And we will be ready for the review in three years to make sure their voices are at the centre of this conversation,” Sen. Flynn said.