- 05 Apr 01
It is still possible to ban a book or magazine in Ireland if it advocates the use of contraception. Report: LIAM FAY
The names Donal O’Rourke, Anne Foley, Helena Carty and Barney Steele may not ring any immediate bells of recognition but these four individuals are the people who decide what kind of books, magazines and newspapers you and I are allowed to read. Last year, for instance, this quartet of civil guardians ordained that it would not be in our own best interests if we were to peruse four specific novels (to wit Dream 16 Lovers, Nymphomania, Black Buck and Suck Off), one magazine (Escort) and one newspaper (The Daily Sport). In 1992, it was they who decreed that we just wouldn’t be able for Madonna’s Sex, Dr Felix G. Berger’s The G-Spot in Words and Pictures and a whole raft of continental classics with titles such as Mann Oder Frau, Pralle Dickerchen and Spagat fur Kenner.
Since January 1st, 1986 alone, this anonymous foursome and their predecessors have banned a total of seventy-two books and thirteen periodicals. This year, they will meet on an average of once every two months to add to the list of publications that are suitable For Their Eyes Only.
O’Rourke, Foley, Carty and Steele are the current members of the Irish Censorship of Publications Board. There should actually be five of them but, shortly after this particular Board was appointed in November 1991, the fifth member chose to retire and their boss, the Minister for Justice, has still not yet replaced him. Hot Press contacted the Department of Justice in order to ascertain precisely what singular attributes these people possess that makes them so uniquely qualified to make such decisions on our behalf.