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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Double the car parking capacity for Sallins train station

Artist impression of the new car park.

Artist impression of the new car park.

270 new car park spaces are incoming for a significant extension of the car park at Sallins and Naas train station. The new car park will be located on the Sallins side of the tracks in what is known locally as the parish field.

The extension is badly needed and something I have been seeking for years including many debates with the Minister for Transport. The extension became all the more urgent after I secured an extension of the leap card zone to Sallins along with the Phoenix park tunnel allowing services direct to city centre. These improvements saw a massive increase in usage of the station. A much better service but much greater demand as a result. Continue Reading →

Budget 2019 disappointing for Science Industry

On the March for Science last year.

On the March for Science last year.

It is welcome to see the Government commit to further participation with the European Southern Observatory. This something which I lobbied for in last year’s budget and will be welcome news for the industry this year. In addition to this the new disruptive technologies fund of €500 million is very welcome in the changing technology industry.

However beyond those two items it is a disappointing budget for the science and technology sector. There has been a failure to engage with CERN. In my opinion this is an opportunity missed. The Government’s failure to commit to CERN is a strong blow to the scientific community in Ireland. Earlier this year, I visited CERN in Geneva to explore the possibility of Ireland joining the organisation and to build relationships with their executive team. It is clear that the opportunity for Irish researchers to work in CERN is a phenomenal one. Continue Reading →

Proposed new changes for Maynooth, Leixlip and Celbridge Dublin Buses

rS_0nvXJ_400x400Dublin Bus are overhauling their route network across the city and commuter belt.  Changes will take place to routes serving Celbridge, Maynooth and Leixlip. These are all only draft proposals and it is important that you have your say. You can see the detailed plans on busconnects.ie website or come to my information meeting on September 27th in the Courtyard Hotel, Leixlip at 20.30 to learn more. Continue Reading →

New Timetable for Kilcock Train Station

irishrail2I can confirm a new timetable is in effect for Kilcock rail station. The timing which may be of interest to most is the 08.08 departure which will move to 07.51.

There will be subsquent changes to stops on the Maynooth line as the train continues it journey into Dublin. You can view the new timetable here.

New timetable for Kildare line but further improvements set for December

James Lawless Sallins Train Station Nov 2013A new timetable on the Kildare line will come into use from September 10th. However, it has been confirmed that a new timetable with additional services via the Phoenix Park tunnel to Grand Canal Dock in the mornings and, crucially, in the evenings is incoming.

A new timetable is being rolled out from September 10th. You can see the changes by going onto the website and future dating your search. The changes seem fairly minor for commuters from Sallins, Naas, Celbridge, Hazelhatch but improved services are incoming. Continue Reading →