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50 shades of shatter


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

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 mis-carriage, 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".