Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins said she is honoured to have been appointed as the party’s spokesperson on Social Media and Finance Technology.
Deputy Higgins’ appointment comes just six months after winning her seat in Dublin Mid-West and she is looking forward to prioritising issues related to social media and finance technology.
Deputy Higgins said, “As we all know, usage on Instagram and Facebook are on the increase these days as not everyone has the luxury to pop by and say hello in person especially in the level 3 regulation zones.
“Not everyone lives in the same county as their loved ones, so I’d like to try to ensure online use can be a safe space for everyone from our teens right up to our elderly alike. It’s crucial that we as a Government are protecting our citizens as much as possible from the negative elements that comes with social media.
Deputy Higgins said she intends to prioritise issues on three key areas including Cyberbullying, mental health and fake news.
She continued, “There are so many positive things to comment on when it comes to social media channels, it’s not all negative. We only have to look back to March and April to the early days of the lockdown to see some amazing new apps that allowed all generations in families to participate in table quizzes and the like right up and down the country.
“However, we are all too aware of the negative side. I will support and meet where possible victims and families of Cyberbullying. I will also be looking at what they have done in other countries like Germany to combat this issue with the NetzDG law that came into effect in 2017. Germany’s existing Network Enforcement Act (aka the NetzDG law) puts an obligation on social network platforms to remove hate speech within set deadlines as tight as 24 hours for easy cases, with fines of up to €50M should they fail to comply. We can no longer rely on self-governance so we must prevent further deaths due to this curse.
“Helping to build Ireland’s international brand as a smart island that attracts jobs will be a key priority for the Government. We have always been an attractive nation for FDI. Foreign Direct Investment has been, and will continue to be, a key plank upon which Ireland’s economy is built.
“I look forward to seeing the economy rebound post Covid. FDI remains hugely important to Ireland and will be instrumental in helping the country recover from this current economic crisis,” Deputy Higgins concluded.