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.

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 →

M7 Widening and Sallins Bypass Making Progress

M7 Millenium Park NaasCommuters and residents will be delighted to read that the works on the M7 widening project and Sallins bypass are making progress.  Below are updates on the various projects underway associated with the construction work.  Credit must go to Kildare County Council and SIAC for their work on this site and the update that they have provided.

Johnstown to Naas

 Works on the first phase between Junctions 8 (Johnstown) and Junction 10 (Naas South) are on track to finish by Spring 2019 with the majority of the piped drainage in this phase installed.   Currently, 11 Gantries with concrete foundations are under construction including capping/ pavement sub-formation operations and the installation of concrete drainage channels. Continue Reading →

Crime Prevention Meeting in Kill

With Fianna Fáil Local Area Representative for Kill Brian Larkin

With Fianna Fáil Local Area Representative for Kill Brian Larkin

A huge credit to Kill Community Alert Group who hosted a crime prevention meeting last night.  The presentations on home security and general policing in the area were very informative. The Gardai and the local community are doing their very best with scarce resources.

I personally believe it was a mistake by the government to close over 100 stations at the stroke of a pen in 2013. Five of those stations were in the Kildare and West Wicklow area which has been left exposed since. The total savings across all 100 plus stations only amounted to 2.5 million which is a drop in the ocean of the Justice budget. Continue Reading →

Concerns raised to council regarding Eadestown planning prosposal

Church_in_Eadestown,_KildareI have joined with the many residents in the Eadestown area in voicing my concern of the proposed infill site in the area. You can read my full submission to Kildare County Council here.

Like the residents I believe there will be serious negative consequences if the proposed development goes ahead. The excessive scale and prolonged timescale of this development will have a detrimental effect on the community of Eadestown. Continue Reading →