We’ve been working with the Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) on projects since 2018. In February 2020, we supported the launch of its child safety online campaign on Safer Internet Day 2020. On the day, members of the CRA (incl. Barnardos, CyberSafeIreland, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, One in Four, the ISPCC and SpunOut.ie) joined forces in-person to highlight child safety online, and the need for online safety for children and young people to remain a high-priority in the next Programme for Government.

A few months later, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we supported the second part of this campaign. This involved the coalition reiterating its calls for child safety online to be a priority in the new Programme for Government and post Covid-19 plans; the establishment of an appropriate Online Safety Commissioner and increased resources for An Garda Síochána; and the amendment of the General Scheme of the Online Safety Media Regulation Bill 2019, so that it sets out specific provisions to protect children and young people online.

Our aims for both activities was to secure media coverage and support the CRA by providing strategic advice, event management and photography where relevant, drafting and issuing press releases and media alerts, as well as extensive media relations.

The way we achieved results differed for each part of the campaign, because of the societal restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In February, just days after voters went to the polls and amid heavy Election 2020 coverage, we held a media and stakeholder event and photocall for the first part of the campaign. Then in June, when face-to-face events were not possible, we generated media interest, attendance and coverage for a child safety online panel discussion between representatives from the political parties via a webinar, hosted by the CRA and chaired by former Senator Jillian van Turnhout.

Both activities were successful and we secured a significant amount of national broadcast, print and online coverage. This included Virgin Media News, The Last Word with Matt Cooper, Today FM; The Irish Times; multiple articles in the Irish Examiner including the front page; Silicon Republic; and stories in news bulletins on Newstalk and across regional radio stations.