294. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to a submission by the Royal College of Physicians in relation to the digital age of consent; and the reason the submission has not been referenced by him in the Dáil Éireann debate on the issue. [20896/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, during earlier Seanad discussions on the Data Protection Bill 2018, and more recent discussion in the Select Committee, I explained the background to the Government's decision in favour of a digital age of consent of 13 years.
I referred in particular to submissions that my Department and the Government Data Forum had received in response to the public consultations processes carried out in 2016. During these consultations, interested parties were invited to make submissions on the "digital age of consent" to apply in this jurisdiction under the GDPR. A majority of those that responded favoured 13 years, and it was on that basis that the Government decided in favour of a digital age of consent of 13 years. The submissions received by my Department are available on the Department's website, www.justice.ie. The Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality also had consultations with experts in the course of pre-legislative scrutiny of the Data Protection Bill 2017.
More recently, I have received a number of letters and representations from individuals and organisations, such as the Royal College of Physicians, expressing a range of views on the digital age of consent. These contributions are welcome, but they do not form part of the background to the Government's decision in favour of 13 years as the digital age of consent in this jurisdiction.