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New censors set to review Shatter book


COMPLAINT: Alan Shatter's book contains sex scenes

COMPLAINT: Alan Shatter's book contains sex scenes

COMPLAINT: Alan Shatter's book contains sex scenes

FIVE new members have been appointed to an arcane censorship board – to consider a complaint against Justice Minister Alan Shatter's book Laura.

Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan has been forced to appoint new members of the Censorship of Publications Board to hear a single complaint against the book.

The board has not met in almost six years and the appointments have come, despite Government plans to review its continued existence, owing to technological advances.

Laws establishing the board were first drawn up in 1929.

The most recent board's term ended in 2011, but as there were no complaints to consider, a new board was not appointed until yesterday.

The five appointed censors will decide whether the Irish public needs to be protected from "obscenity" in the minister's book.

Mr Shatter wrote Laura 24 years ago. It contains sex scenes and centres around the troubled private life of an Oireachtas member who is having an affair with his secretary.

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.

A complaint about the book's sex scenes was lodged with the Censorship of Publications Board last summer.


Cork solicitor Shane McCarthy is chairman of the new board.

Dr Noëlle O'Connor, a lecturer with Limerick Institute of Technology, barrister Sinead Prunty and retired garda Chief Superintendent Philip Moynihan have also been appointed.

The final member of the board is Georgina Byrne, who is an English literature graduate.

The term of the new board will run until November 2016.

Members are not paid but receive expenses for attendance at board meetings.

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 no books are banned because they are indecent but dozens are blacklisted for advocating abortion.