“I want to welcome the proposed measures to address the issue of online pornography and the online grooming of children.
“The fact that the Directive stipulates quite clearly the new rules in terms of sentencing thresholds for the various offences, and that these are to become uniform across the EU, is a major step in the battle against the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children.
“It is obviously very important that both Ireland and Europe begin to deal with the issues that arise in terms of child protection and the internet.
“The criminalisation of online soliciting of children is a step in the right direction, especially when it concerns the use of the internet for grooming for the production of child pornography.
“Sinn Fein welcomes the fact that member states are obliged to transpose the new rules into national law within two years and we would urge the government not to drag its feet on this issue.
“Of the new rules contained in the Directive perhaps the most significant in terms of its potential impact is the one concerning the sex tourism industry.
“The introduction of compulsory jurisdiction over nationals who commit crimes abroad, and the establishment of preventative measure to that effect are long overdue.
“The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is global in nature and measures which seek to protect children and combat trafficking and abuse must deal with the issue in an international context.”