Dáil Éireann - Volume 459 - 14 December, 1995
Written Answers. - Pornographic Material.
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
47. Mr. O'Donoghue asked the Minister for Justice if she intends to introduce stronger measures to combat the sale and distribution of pornographic material in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18946/95]
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen) Nora Owen
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): The legislation for which my Department has responsibility dealing with the sale and distribution of pornographic material is principally the following:
—the Censorship of Publications Acts, 1929 to 1967 (as amended);
—the Censorship of Films Acts, 1923 to 1992; and
—the Video Recordings Acts, 1989 to 1992.
These Acts provide for censorship of books-magazines, films and video recordings, respectively. The task of censorship is carried out by the Censorship of Publications Board in relation to books and magazines and by the film censor in relation to films and video recordings. There are also appeal boards to decide on any appeal against the decisions of the Censorship of Publications Board and the film censor.
In accordance with the provisions of the relevant legislation, the various boards and the film censor are independent in the exercise of their functions.
There is a mechanism in place, under the existing Censorship of Publications legislation, through which pornographic or obscene publications can be banned.  I strongly urge persons who may be aware of the sale, at any place, of books or magazines which they regard to be pornographic to employ the provisions outlined in sections 6 and 9 of the Censorship of Publications Act, 1946 (as amended).
In particular, section 9 of the Censorship of Publications Act, 1946, makes provision for the Censorship of Publications Board, on receipt of a complaint from any person, to prohibit the sale of a magazine which they consider to be indecent or obscene. Complaints should be made to the Censorship of Publications Board. A complaint must be accompanied by a copy of the book in question or, in the case of a magazine, by three recent issues of the magazine. When a publication is banned, it is then a criminal offence to sell, expose, offer, advertise or keep for sale, or distribute, or offer or keep for distribution, any such publication.
With regard to the censorship of films and video recordings, I consider that the existing legislation gives the film censor wide-ranging powers to deal effectively with this area.
The existing legislation confers certain powers on the Garda Síochána and officers of the Customs and Excise Service to search for and to seize indecent and obscene pictures, books, magazines and videos. In this regard, I am aware that the Garda recently carried out a number of raids in the Dublin Metropolitan Area, some of which were as a result of ongoing investigations. I understand that quantities of pornographic materials were seized and that Garda inquiries in this regard are ongoing.
In all this, I am conscious of the need to ensure that the powers of both the Garda and the Customs and Excise Service in this area are sufficient to deal with any problems arising and, with this in mind, I have sought the opinion of the Attorney General in this regard.
If, on receipt of the advice of the Attorney General or at any other stage,  it becomes evident that the existing censorship legislation as amended is inadequate, I will not hesitate to bring proposals for amending legislation to the Government for approval.
Dáil Éireann 459 Written Answers. Pornographic Material.