Ireland Lawmakers to Debate Age Verification Proposal

DUBLIN, Ireland—Lawmakers in Ireland are considering a mandatory age verification proposal for online adult material. According to the Irish legislature's website, the next debate is this Thursday, July 11.

Proposed by Senator Rónán Mullen, the "Protection of Children (Online Age Verification) Bill 2024" is currently awaiting a second round of debate before the Irish Senate (officially the Seanad Éireann).

The Seanad serves as the upper house of the Oireachtas, Ireland's bicameral parliamentary lawmaking body.

The House of Representatives, the Dáil Éireann, is the lower house and could be compared to the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.

Senator Mullen introduced the measure with language that is eerily similar to proposals introduced in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

"Any website controller that publishes a website on the internet that contains pornographic material shall, prior to enabling any person in the State to access ... that website, require all users to fulfill age verification requirements," the bill reads.

Much of the measure also prescribes criminal penalties and fines for violators of the law if it is adopted by both chambers of the Oireachtas and is signed by the president of Ireland.

Mullen said, "Many children have unfettered access to the internet. It is long past time to make strict age verification a legal obligation on pain of criminal sanction."

Irish Monitor reports that Mullen is urging constituents to ask their members of the Seanad and Dáil to adopt the proposal.