Shatter novel prompts censorship reform

Minister for Justice made decision to avert possible conflict of interest, after complaints novel was ‘obscene’ and advocated abortion

Minister Alan Shatter: complaints have led to his novel being reissued

Minister Alan Shatter: complaints have led to his novel being reissued


A “steamy” novel written by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter 24 years ago when he was a backbencher has prompted him to transfer responsibility for censorship out of his department.

A complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board alleging that his novel, Laura: A Story You Will Never Forget, is obscene posed a dilemma for the Minister whose department has ultimate responsibility for the board.

In response he has decided to shift responsibility for censorship out of Justice to the Department of Arts and Heritage.

A Government spokesman said the Minister had made the decision in case there was any suggestion of a conflict of interest on the part of Mr Shatter.

The spokesman said the Minister had also come to the conclusion that the Department of Arts and Heritage was also more appropriate to have responsibility for censorship.

Following recent publicity about the Minister’s novel and the complaint that it is “obscene”, the publisher has decided to reissue it.

The novel centres around the troubled private life of a rural TD who is having an affair with his secretary. At one point, 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 board over a month ago. Another aspect of the complaint is the allegation the novel advocates the procurement of an abortion or miscarriage, contrary to Irish censorship laws.

The term for the current board has expired and the Minister has transferred responsibility for appointing a new board to the Department of Arts and Heritage.

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