I would like to begin by wishing the very best to my colleague, Senator Eamonn Coghlan, with his endeavours in his new career with Fine Gael. I look forward to continuing to work with him and all my colleagues in this House.
It is a great shame that the Internet service providers of Ireland have chosen today – Safer Internet Day – to criticise the decision of their UK counterparts to require their customers to opt in before accessing adult material. The Internet service providers of Ireland are more than willing to block access to sites that infringe copyright, but they consider it to be nothing less than censorship to try to prevent a child from accessing potentially harmful material. They took a similar view when they were asked to block child abuse material. This is already being done in many European countries, including Norway, Sweden and Italy. The US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children has estimated that 20% of all pornography on the Internet depicts the abuse and exploitation of children. However, Irish Internet providers are more concerned with preventing people from downloading songs and other things from the entertainment industry than with blocking terrible images of children being abused. I ask the Leader to invite the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to the House to outline what Ireland is doing to join its EU counterparts in blocking child abuse material on the Internet.