Sunday 24 March 2019

New team to deal with complaint on Shatter's racy novel

Alan Shatter and the cover of his racy novel 'Laura'
Alan Shatter and the cover of his racy novel 'Laura'

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

ARTS Minister Jimmy Deenihan is being forced to appoint five people to a little-used state board to deal with a complaint about Alan Shatter's racy novel.

The Censorship of Publications Board was set up in 1929 to examine books and magazine for sale.

But it has not banned any works since 2003 and has had no board members in place for the past two years.

For this reason, it has not been able to deal with a recent complaint that Justice Minister Alan Shatter's 1989 novel 'Laura' was 'obscene' and advocated abortion.

Mr Deenihan has got cabinet approval to temporarily appoint five people to the new board so that the final complaint can be dealt with.

The positions are unpaid but members can qualify for limited travel and subsistence expenses for meeting to decide on the complaint about Mr Shatter's novel.

Mr Shatter's novel was recently republished following the publicity about the complaint against it.


It centres around the troubled private life of a rural TD who is having an affair with his secretary and contains several sex scenes.

A government spokesman said it would be inappropriate to abolish the board at this time when a complaint still had to be dealt with.

He said the board's future was being reviewed by Mr Deenihan.

Mr Deenihan will have the opportunity of choosing from the pool of people who have applied to his department signalling their interest in serving on a state board.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Deenihan signalled that the Censorship of Publications Board is still facing the axe.

Mr Deenihan said the country had matured and that it was impossible to implement strict censorship due to the internet.

"That would be one of the reasons why we would look at this whole area of censorship and see if there is a need for the Censorship Board at this moment in time," he said.

The responsibility for the board was transferred by Mr Shatter to Mr Deenihan's department earlier this year after the complaint was made.

Irish Independent

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