Social Media Transparency Bill 2017

We are all aware of the substantial and increasing role of social media and online fora on our public discourse and in the political sphere. Yet the many rules and safeguards which have emerged in the traditional spaces, everything from disclosure of donations to campaign fund caps, to a requirement that all printed materials must carry a label saying who printed and published them. None of these checks are present in the online space as the legislation has not kept pace with technology.

I introduced my social media transparency bill in the chamber today. The bill applies only to 1) paid political advertising 2) deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts for political purposes (bots).

The main provisions of the bill are:

– The requirement for a disclosure statement on any online political advertising
– The disclosure statement is similar to that already on printed flyers and election posters
– The disclosure statement will state exactly who published and sponsored the post and the target audience
– The social media platforms will be required to capture this information when the ads are purchased
– Failure to provide accurate or truthful information in the disclosure statement will be an offence
– Separately, deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts, for political purposes shall be an offence
– The prohibition on the use of public money for party political uses is re-stated (as per the McKenna judgments)

A link to the bill is Online_Advertising_Social_Media_Transparency_Bill_2017 and my speech earlier today, introducing the bill, is below.

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Ortation at the Captian Noel Lemass Commemoration

It was an honour to deliver the ortation at this years Capt. Noel Lemass commemoration in Glenncullen, Co. Wicklow. I spoke about Captain Noel Lemass and the service the Lemass family gave to Ireland. Reflected on the history of the party and how it had always evolved to meet changing circumstances and must continue to do so.

From electoral lows in 1927 and 2011 to the highs of 1932, 1959, and subsequent years in Government the party has continually renewed to lead Ireland. I also detailed what the future holds for Fianna Fáil in a modern Ireland as the party and the country adapt and grow with societal changes today.

Well done to the organising committee of Vice President Arthur Griffin, Aidan O’Connor, Sean Haughey T.D., and the wider Lemass Family who run this commemoration annually. You can read my full speech here or watch below.

Newtown NS to get four new classrooms

Minister_Confirmation_NewtownSchool

Click through to see the full confirmation from the Minister for Education.

A number of weeks ago I had pleasure of visiting Newtown National School with local Cllr. Paul Ward.

Meeting with teaching staff it was very clear that the school had reached full capacity and urgently required additional classrooms. Having raised this with the Minister for Education in the Dáil I am delighted to confirm that four new classrooms will be provided for the school.

I look forward to continuing to work with the school to aide their development and advocate for the teachers and students in Newtown.

New measures needed to safeguard our heritage in the digital age

DAAs Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Technology I have brought forward new legislation aimed at safeguarding our national and cultural heritage in the digital age.

‘The Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Amendment Bill’ aims to introduce a new provision to capture and archive the content contained on the .ie web domain. The amendment requires the Government to report back within 12 months on the feasibility of a digital lead deposit scheme to serve as a web archive.

Many other countries already have legislation in place aimed at capturing the content on their country’s web domain. 20 of the 28 member states of the European Union have digital deposit schemes in place. Unfortunately Ireland is falling far behind our counterparts when it comes to protecting our digital heritage. The Bill I have brought forward aims to address this. Continue Reading →