30 Nov 2020, 13.20

The Select Committee on Justice will meet twice this week to consider the Committee Stage of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017.

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD will attend both meetings in Committee Room 2 of Leinster House, at 4pm on Tuesday, 1 December and at 4.30pm on Thursday, 3 December.

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017 proposes to consolidate and reform the criminal law concerning harmful communications. The Bill also proposes to make online harassment an offence and proposes a new offence of distributing an intimate image without consent.

Committee Chairman Deputy James Lawless said: “This important legislation was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill in 2017 by Deputy Brendan Howlin, who now is a member of this Committee. We have made its progress a high priority to ensure it completes Committee Stage this term.

“The Bill has become known as Coco’s Law following the death of Nicole Fox Fenton, who tragically took her own life aged just 17 after she was bullied and harassed online. The Bill proposes to bring our laws into the digital age by making it a criminal offence punishable by a fine and/or up to seven years in prison to bully, abuse or harass people online. It also proposes similar sentences for so-called ‘revenge porn’ by introducing a new offence of distributing online intimate photos or videos without consent.

“While this Bill has been scheduled for some time now, its consideration is timely in view of the recent reports of thousands of intimate images being dumped on the internet without permission. Minister McEntee has already stated she wants this legislation to become law before the end of the year and the Committee looks forward to working with her to progress the Bill through Committee Stage.”

The meetings in Committee Room 2 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Media enquiries

Robert Kennedy-Cochrane
Houses of the Oireachtas
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Leinster House
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 4149
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