FF Bill `seriously flawed'


A 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to £100,000 has been proposed in a Fianna Fail Private Member's Bill for distributors of child pornography.

The party's spokesman on justice, Mr John O'Donoghue, said it was a potentially harsh punishment, but it was designed to punish people for particularly despicable actions.

Moving the Child Pornography Bill, he said that it proposed a one-year prison sentence and, a fine of up to £1,000 for possession of an indecent photograph or any other indecent material.

Mr O'Donoghue said the Bill was directed at every category of exploiter in the child pornography industry. "It is directed at the middlemen, including procurers and compliant parents. It is directed at the distributors as well as child pornography collectors."

It was regrettable that the development of modern computer technology had made a tremendous impact on the production and distribution of child pornography. The Internet was becoming an increasingly significant factor in child sexual exploitation. The House, he said, would have to be vigilant and aggressive in devising means of protecting children from the misuse of this technology.

The Minister of State for Justice, Mr Austin Currie, said the Government had no objection, in principle, to what the Bill was setting out to achieve. But he would be proposing an alternative approach by bringing forward proposals to update the law by way of amendments to the Children Bill.

Mr Currie said there was no getting away from the fact that the Fianna Fail Bill was seriously flawed and would not do enough to protect children.

Debate on the Bill resumes tonight.