25. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the international agreement to prevent the sexual abuse of children known as the Lanzarote convention is to be ratified in view of the fact that Ireland is an outlier amongst European states in its failure to ratify this convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20946/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy may recall that I recently outlined the position in relation to ratification of this Convention. At that time I updated the House on the significant progress made in the ratification process within the term of this Administration, particularly through the introduction of legislation to give effect to the key criminal law provisions of the Convention.
As I outlined to the House at that time, Ireland’s laws are in line with the Convention. This was largely achieved by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, which was a ground-breaking piece of legislation. It brought in a new offence of accessing child pornography online. It also criminalised grooming behaviour, such as communicating with a child online for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Even prior to this Act, our legislation on child pornography included images of a person generated or modified by computer-graphics.
In relation to other elements of the Convention, my Department has been carrying out a detailed review of compliance, in consultation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and other relevant stakeholders, such as the Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive. Information has been sought regarding the child protection, prevention and victim support aspects of the Convention, in order to determine Ireland's compliance with its operational elements.
The evaluation and legal analysis of this information will shortly be concluded with a view to enabling the ratification process to proceed as soon as possible.