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Monday 22 September 2014

Fifty shades of Alan Shatter: steamy novel by Justice Minister referred to censor

Published 21/05/2013 | 13:22

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A RAUNCHY novel written by Justice Minister Alan Shatter has been referred to the Censorship office.

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The Herald has learned that censors are set to investigate whether Laura: A Story You Will Never Forget is too “obscene” for Irish readers.

The book, which the minister wrote 24 years ago, contains steamy sex scenes and centres around the troubled private life of an Oireachtas member who is having an affair with his secretary.

The revelation comes after the Data Protection Commissioner confirmed that he will be asking Mr Shatter to justify revealing details about Mick Wallace's dealings with gardai on live television.

At one point in the book, the fictional TD attempts to force the woman to have an abortion in order to save his political career.

The Herald understands that a complaint about the book’s sex scenes was lodged with the Censorship of Publications Board just weeks ago.

Another allegation is the novel advocates the procurement of an abortion or miscarriage, contrary to Irish censorship laws.

Laura, which was published by Poolbeg Press, originally retailed for IR£4.99 but is now available on Amazon for as little as 1 cent.

A spokesperson for the Board confirmed that concerns have been raised with its secretary by a member of the public and added: “The complaint will be considered by the new Censorship of Publications Board when it is appointed.”

Ironically, it is Mr Shatter who is due to announce the members of the board in the coming weeks.

The spokesperson said that time involved in reviewing a book “varies” and they have no obligation to notify the publisher unless the complaint is upheld.

In Ireland there are two main categories under which books can be banned. The first is they are “indecent or obscene” while the second is “they advocate the procurement of abortion or miscarriage”.

The Register of Prohibited Publications shows there are no books banned because they are indecent but dozens are blacklisted for advocating abortion.

The fictional story is set in Ireland, with one of the leading characters an Oireachtas member who is opposed to abortion.

However, Sean Brannigan is having an affair with his secretary Colette, who becomes pregnant.

“Their world is turned upside down when they learn that Colette has changed her mind and wants Laura back,” says the cover blurb.

The cover blurb says that the author, Alan Shatter, is “well known as a politician, legislator and lawyer”.

The best quotes from the Minister’s book ‘Laura’

* The bottle emptied and the champagne finished he carried her the stairs into the bedroom, realising that they were both slightly drunk. She lay beneath him on the bed, its soft mattress rising and falling as their bodies joined together in passionate celebration of the decision they had made.

* Brannigan also projected himself as a law and order politician. He became a leading proponent of legislation to prevent Irish women having abortions abroad in order to protect the Irish unborn against the ‘abortionists in England and the rest of the world’.

* Her inexperienced hands touched him so tentatively that every muscle in his body ached for fulfilment.

* When he entered her, he knew it was her first time. He moved slowly and she dug her fingers into his back, moaning and gasping for breath. When she loosened her grip and her body relaxed, he knew he was going to erupt.

* She gasped again and as he pulled himself free of her and overflowed on her slender body.

* She knew that she had been foolish for not taking the necessary precautions herself, but Brannigan had assured her that he always withdrew in time and that she was not at risk. She now knew this to be untrue.

*  But his next question cruelly shattered the illusion. ‘Have you considered an abortion?” His voice was hesitant and he would not meet her eyes. The words echoed in her head as she lay in bed. Brannigan’s concern had been for himself, not for her.

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