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Statement by An Taoiseach at the Leaders Dialogue on the Christchurch Call, United Nations, New York

Published: 23 September 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

Issued by the Government Press Office

Your Majesty King Abdullah, Secretary-General, Prime Minister Ardern, President Macron, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I want to commend the four organising parties for bringing us together, and for spearheading our efforts in the wake of the horrific attack in Christchurch last March.

The internet knows no borders. Its ability to cross all frontiers is an awesome power that can serve us for good or for evil.

A great Irish poet once warned about how society could be maimed by fanatic hearts who turned hatred into sport. That is the threat we face today.

So it is right that we gather here at the UN, the heart of the multilateral system. It is only by building a coalition of government, industry and international actors that we can deal with this threat.

To counter the spread of violent extremist content online we need an alliance of committed and diverse leaders.

I warmly welcome the adoption of the shared crisis protocol, which will ensure the global community will not be caught off guard again.

In Ireland, we are preparing an Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill to regulate harmful content online and implement the EU Audio-visual Media Services Directive. For the first time, video sharing platforms and livestreamed content will be included in its scope.

We will also establish a regulatory authority with enforcement powers to ensure that technology companies take steps to ensure the safety of their users online.

The EU headquarters of many of the world’s largest internet service providers are based in Dublin, companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter. We take our responsibilities as regulators very seriously.

Within the EU we are working to develop a specific framework for terrorist content to tackling the dissemination of content online.

We have a rich and diverse research ecosystem in Ireland. In the humanities we are exploring the causes of violent radicalisation so we can better counteract it. In the sciences we want to better understand algorithmic outcomes. Both will be prioritised in our domestic research agenda.

Our mission is to work with partners across the political system, with civil society, with academia and particularly with industry, at home and around the world.

We know, from the horrors we have seen unfold in Christchurch and elsewhere, what we must do.

And we are determined to succeed.

Thank you.