Friday 23 February 2018

Taoiseach's assurance: Haughey backs ICA over ban on Irish sex shops

Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey

Ralph Riegel and Chris Parkin

Taoiseach Charles Haughey assured the Irish Countrywomen's Association (ICA) that he was totally opposed to the opening of sex shops in Ireland.

His assurance came as, two years later, his successor as Taoiseach Dr Garret Fitzgerald was asked to personally intervene to ensure that a French film, slated as highly pornographic, was not shown at the Cork Film Festival or on Irish TV.

State archive releases also revealed Clare Co Council was deeply concerned about the showing of 'blue movies' in pubs around the region.

One letter, dated November 15 1982, saw ICA general-secretary Joan Clooney ask Mr Haughey for his support in opposing the opening of an international sex shop chain in Ireland.

"I have been instructed by the members to write to you registering their concern at the possibility of the sex shop chain, Conegate, opening branches in the Republic," she wrote.

"Our members are anxious that you would give a commitment to prevent Conegate or other such organisations opening sex shops in this country."

Eight days later, Mr Haughey wrote back to promise his support.

"The Taoiseach has noted your committee's strong views on this subject and he has asked me to assure you that he would be totally opposed to the opening of any such shops mentioned in your letter," Mr Haughey's private secretary wrote.

Dr Fitzgerald was asked to personally intervene with Cork Film Festival to ensure an explicit foreign film was not shown either at the event or on Irish TV.

Mr P Caulfield from Knock in Mayo wrote, in French on July 9 1985, that it represented "a horror" for Ireland and for the Church.

Irish Independent

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