Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Criminal Prosecutions.
Mr. M. Brady Mr. M. Brady
1392. Mr. M. Brady asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if, in view of recent cases involving the possession of child pornography by non-nationals, he will consider the introduction of mandatory 20 year jail sentences for such offences and longer sentences for possession with the intent to distribute this vile material; and the measures planned and taken to combat this activity. [16601/02]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell)
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, provides for a package of measures aimed at protecting children from sexual exploitation by targeting two manifestations of such exploitation – child trafficking and child pornography. Under this Act it is a criminal offence for any person to knowingly possess child pornography. The maximum penalty on conviction on indictment for this offence is five years imprisonment. It is also an offence for any person to knowingly possess child pornography for the purpose of distributing, publishing, exporting, selling or showing it. Persons found guilty of this offence are liable on conviction on indictment to  up to 14 years imprisonment. The Dáil agreed to the penalty structure in the Act as recently as 1998. They are among the most severe penalties for these offences anywhere. I am satisfied that they are an adequate and appropriate deterrent for the offences concerned and I have no plans at present to review them.
At present an EU framework decision on the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography is being negotiated. If the finalised document gives rise to the need for changes to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, I will seek Government approval to prepare the legislation without delay.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Criminal Prosecutions.