Tuesday 12 December 2017

Reilly: I saw bruises and had to report bullying of my son

Minister for Children James Reilly with PhD student Sinead Kane, from Youghal, at the Helix in DCU before the launch yesterday of ‘Understanding Cyberbullying, a guide for Parents and Teachers’ by Prof Mona O’Moore.
Photo: Frank McGrath
Minister for Children James Reilly with PhD student Sinead Kane, from Youghal, at the Helix in DCU before the launch yesterday of ‘Understanding Cyberbullying, a guide for Parents and Teachers’ by Prof Mona O’Moore. Photo: Frank McGrath
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Minister for Children James Reilly has opened up about the bullying of his son.

The incident happened "many years ago" and Mr Reilly said his son was now a "fine young man well able to stand up for himself".

He was speaking at the launch of a new online resource www.tacklebullying.ie at the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre in Dublin City University.

The minister told guests that he has a daughter and four sons, one of whom has autism.

"And while that son might have been thought to be the one most at risk of bullying," Dr Reilly said, it was one of his other sons who was actually bullied.

He said that having seen bruises, he was concerned enough as a GP to feel that he had to report it.

Dr Reilly said that while he was initially unhappy with how the school dealt with the matter, "ultimately it was dealt with in a satisfactory way".

Dr Reilly said bullying was "not a new phenomenon", though "the means and instruments of bullying have expanded".

He added that the prevalence of mobile devices meant bullying could occur "at any time and place".

The Tackle Bullying online resource for young people is the first of its kind and encourages teenagers to share their experiences with their peers or offer support to others.

The website will be moderated by professionals, with an option to discuss any particular issue of concern.

It will also contain useful information such as tips to stay cyber-safe and newspaper articles on the subject. The website is funded by the National Lottery.

Director of the Anti-Bullying Centre, James O'Higgins Norman, said the new forum, with a book for parents and teachers, by Professor Mona O'Moore, arose out of many years of research.

This has now been transformed into practical resources for those affected by bullying and cyberbullying.

Prof O'Moore (inset) said there was a great urgency to address the growth of cyberbullying among young people.

She said many young people were sadly using "ineffective coping strategies" when they were bullied and said she hoped the book would give practical tips on how better to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, tackling all forms of bullying, on or offline, is not just the job of schools or teachers, the minister said.

"We all have a role to play in preventing and tackling bullying in our communities," he said. "The safety of children is everybody's business."

Irish Independent

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