Kenny calls for ‘national conversation’ about pornography

Young people being corrupted by an avalanche of online images, says Taoiseach

The Taoiseach said the scourge of pornography was difficult to police but steps needed to be taken to deal with the problem

The Taoiseach said the scourge of pornography was difficult to police but steps needed to be taken to deal with the problem

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called for a national conversation on the exposure of young people to pornography.

Mr Kenny said he has serious concerns young people were being tainted and corrupted by an avalanche of pornography.

“It’s always important that we should have a national conversation about what is important for our children – what is, and should be, a priority for our children when they’re growing up, and when they grow up.

“And more and more grow up being online. And from that point of view, what used to be termed the ‘lads’ magazines’ have grown to be replaced with a pornography that is as ubiquitous as it is damaging.

“And our young people, growing up, imagining that what they see on a screen might be normal sexual behaviour.”

Mr Kenny, who was speaking at the launch in Dublin of a freephone helpline for the Federation for Victim Assistance, said the scourge of pornography would be difficult to police but steps needed to be taken to deal with the problem.

Ferocity

“There is clearly an issue there that needs to be addressed – and very hard to address it, given the range and the ferocity of the avalanche of communications of all descriptions that are coming at young people now.”

Under the 1998 Child Trafficking and Pornography Act it is illegal for anyone to knowingly possess child pornography. It is also illegal to knowingly distribute, print or publish child pornography.

There have many calls for Ireland to extend its legislation to tackle so-called revenge porn. This is when a person uploads intimate images of another person online without their knowledge or consent.

Some countries, including England and Wales, have introduced new legislation making it an offence to share photographs or videos of a sexual nature of another person without their consent.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is examining this area, and is considering introducing new offences which would carry prison terms of up to seven years.