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  • In February, a forum on Reddit titled 'Irish Sluts' was removed from the website for violating its content policy against involuntary pornography.

    In February, a forum on Reddit titled 'Irish Sluts' was removed from the website for violating its content policy against involuntary pornography. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 May 2019

If the bill is approved, the government will commence with making amendments to the original bill and will reportedly classify it as a priority.

The Irish Cabinet has approved new legislation that will create offenses for non-consensual distribution of private images, also known as "revenge porn." 

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Minister Justice Charlie Flanagan will bring the bill to the Cabinet in Cork's City Hall for approval Thursday. If approved, the government will commence with making amendments to the original bill and will reportedly classify it as a priority.  

The bill was introduced by Brendan Howlin, a leader of the country's Labour Party, who drafted the legislation using a 2016 Law Reform Commission as its foundation. The report highlights two types of offenses: the non-consensual posting of intimate pictures online, as well as gathering secret footage of people's private areas.

The government was previously developing its own bill but has agreed to halt development and consider Howlin's proposal. Howlin has accused Ireland of falling behind on "revenge porn" legislation. 

Cases of such offenses have become more common in the country in recent times.

In February, a forum on Reddit titled 'Irish Sluts', displaying images of Irish women taken without their knowledge, was reported and removed from the website for violating its content policy against involuntary pornography. The forum included personal details of the women, including addresses and schools attended. 

Amendments to the bill include the addition of other image-based offenses, such as "upskirting," as well as including all types of communication beyond posting images on the internet. Upskirting has been made illegal in other countries in the region, such as England and Wales. 

The Labour Party released a statement supporting the bill, saying "we need to have harassment laws fit for the digital age to cover cyber-bullying and revenge porn."

The bill also includes other forms of communication-based harassment, such as sending unsolicited images or threats. 

Howlin has suggested a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for such offenses, hoping that the measure will deter offenders, as well as adding any culprit to a sex offenders list. 

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