CYBER-BULLYING and the influence of social media websites like Twitter and Facebook on public debate are to be probed by TDs and senators.
A special meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications will be called in the New Year to start the process, committee chairman Tom Hayes said.
Mr Hayes, pictured above, said cyber-bullying is a huge issue, particularly for young people, adding: "This thing can't be left go unchecked, where people can put up vile comments and get away with it."
The move follows the death of junior agriculture minster Shane McEntee, who took his life last week. Anonymous internet messages were cited as a reason for Mr McEntee's death.
It also follows a number of other suicides linked to social networking sites, including tragic Donegal teenage sisters Erin (13) and Shannon (15) Gallagher.
An Oireachtas committee can produce reports and recommendations, but they do not have to be acted upon by Government.
It can also call witnesses in before it, and Mr Hayes said the aim is to produce a report that would help the Government if it wanted to draw up legislation or regulations to deal with the issue.