On Monday 4 March 2019, Minister Bruton made a key note speech at St. Brigid's GNS, Glasnevin, in which he said that he would introduce a new law to regulate harmful online content.
The Minister stated that:
"Digital technology is transforming the world in which we work and live and learn. This provides huge opportunities for us all. It has been central to our economic and social development as a country for three decades. However, the digital world also presents new risks which did not exist previously.
"The situation at present where online and social media companies are not subject to any oversight or regulation by the state for the content which is shared on their platforms is no longer sustainable. I believe that the era of self regulation in this area is over and a new Online Safety Act is necessary.
"I will bring forward an Online Safety Act which sets out how we can ensure children are safe online. This will involve, for the first time, setting a clear expectation for service providers to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the users of their service. A Regulator, an Online Safety Commissioner, would oversee the new system."
This public consultation aimed to seek the views of citizens and stakeholders as to an achievable, proportionate and effective approach to regulating harmful content, particularly online.
This consultation closed on 15 April 2019. A total of 84 submissions were received as part of this consultation.
A full list of respondents is also available and individual submissions are published below.