Online bullying
can be stopped

ONE of the most harrowing reports on the death of teenager Erin Gallagher, who took her own life because she was being bullied online, was the report that Erin’s mother went to the Garda Siochana about the bullying and was told that the gardai could do nothing about it because Erin was not being physically abused.

ONE of the most harrowing reports on the death of teenager Erin Gallagher, who took her own life because she was being bullied online, was the report that Erin’s mother went to the Garda Siochana about the bullying and was told that the gardai could do nothing about it because Erin was not being physically abused.

Paula Mullooly is a media and technology lawyer, and last week she wrote in the Irish Independent one of the most informed and powerful articles on the tragedy of online bullying which has claimed the lives of two teenagers, Erin Gallagher of Donegal and Ciara Pugsley of Leitrim.

In her article, Ms Mullooly said Section 10 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 prohibits the harrassment of a person by “persistently following, watching, pestering, besetting or communicating with him or her”.

She states that “this provision could be a strong weapon in the battle against cyber bullies, however, it appears to be underused”.

She further states that a person harasses another where “he or she, by his or her acts intentionally or recklessly, seriously interferes with the other’s peace and privacy or causes alarm, distress or harm to the other”.

And she points out that legislation is also there to that prohibits the sending of offensive telephone messages that cause “annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety” to another person.

The bullies can be traced and stopped if the will is there.