Censorship of Publications Bill, 1967: Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The objects of the Bill are twofold: first, to limit to twelve years the life of any prohibition order made in respect of a book on the ground that it is indecent or obscene, and, second, to allow an appeal against any prohibition order in respect of a book to be taken at any time and not just within the year following the making of the prohibition order as at present.

The proposal to limit the life of certain prohibition orders is, of course, by far the more important one in the Bill. It sets out to meet, in what I consider to be a reasonable way, the undoubtedly valid criticism of our system of censorship that many books stand banned for all time which are accepted as being important literary works. It is not irrelevant in this context to remark that quite a number of those books are by Irish authors, some of whom are recognised to be among the finest writers in any language.

I accept that the concept of what is indecent or obscene in a book is one that is to a large extent dependent on the thinking of each individual who examines the book. The criteria which a Censorship Board must apply to the books that are before them are those they conceive to be the standards of the average mature and responsible adult of their times. It is because I believe that those standards can and do change over the years that I propose in the Bill to limit to a specific term the life of prohibition orders made in respect of books on the ground that they are indecent or obscene.

Section 2 of the Bill provides that the prohibition orders I am referring to will cease to have effect after a lapse of 12 years. For administrative convenience and I think the convenience of the booksellers and the public generally also, the proposal is that all the orders made in any year will expire on the same date, the 31st December. Orders made 12 years or more before this Bill is passed will, it is proposed, expire a week after its passing. The interval of a week is necessary to enable certain lists to be made available to persons such as booksellers for whom it is important to be thoroughly acquainted, as soon as possible, with the exact effect of the new legislation.

The point was made in the Dáil that a number of books have been banned more than once and in different years and the question was posed as to when such a book would be free from all prohibitions. While it could be argued that the latest prohibition order should be the effective one, I was prepared to accept that the 12 year limit should apply from the year in which the book was first prohibited and the Bill has been amended in that sense.

Section 3 deals with the re-banning by the Board of books that become unbanned by virtue of section 2. The section gives power to the Board to make a new prohibition order in respect of any such book. I expect that the vast majority of books that become unbanned will no longer be available. But there are bound to be books still available after a lapse of 12 years that the Board for the time being in office would regard as objectionable. It will be open to the Board to consider any book in respect of which a prohibition order has expired or is due to expire and to make a further prohibition order. The section permits the Board to make a further order before its predecessor expires.

Section 4 of the Bill relates to the second object of the Bill to which I referred earlier. Under the law as it stands, if an appeal is being taken against a prohibition order made by the Censorship Board it must be taken within twelve months. The section removes this time-limit, but it does not alter the related provision in the present law that one appeal only can be taken against a prohibition order.

The Bill does not propose any change in the law in relation to periodical publications, which include newspapers and magazines. An appeal to the Appeal Board can be taken at any time in respect of any prohibited periodical publication provided three months have elapsed from the date of any previous decision of that Board in respect of that periodical.

I said in the Dáil and I repeat here that I consider this Bill to be an honest and fair attempt to deal with a particular aspect of the censorship system that has been the subject of much justifiable criticism. The proposals were generally well received in the Dáil and I hope that this House will welcome them also.

I suppose there is no part of our legislation which has done such damage to this country and brought it into such discredit as our censorship code, as it has been operated over the years under the legislation introduced in the two Houses of the Oireachtas many years ago by the Censorship Board. Now, that having been said, I recognise—and I think almost everyone in this House recognises—the need for the control of pornography by some method. The protection of the young and immature from pornographic literature is something which, although not by any means universally accepted nowadays outside this country, still accords with the general thinking and consensus of opinion of people in Ireland. We are, therefore, faced with a problem of a system of legislation which has, in its operation, proved damaging to this country and at the same time with the fact that there exists a clear need to have some system of control of pornographic literature. Our problem is how to arrive at an optimum balance between these two situations. I think it is accepted by theologians and philosophers that the State ought not to intrude into the private moral lives of individuals, unless public morality is threatened. The civil law is not concerned with sin but with crimes which offend the community. I quote from Fr. John Courtney Murray on this point:

If you impose a constraint on freedom in one domain, in order to increase freedom in another, you may take the risk of damaging freedom in a third domain, with consequences more dangerous to the community ... and because social freedoms interlock so tightly, it is not possible to know antecedently what the multiple effects of a regulation will be.

Therefore, in intervening in a matter of this kind the State risks constraints on freedom, undesirable in themselves, and must, therefore, limit its intervention to the extent minimally necessary to achieve the purpose of the legislation, in order to avoid the interference with freedom which is undesirable and which the two Houses of the Oireachtas should always wish to avoid in any legislation they are introducing or amending. The civil law should define as widely as possible the limits placed on individual freedom and it should combine the maximum freedom for adult individuals with reasonable protection for the young and immature. This means that the onus of establishing the need for, desirability of or workability of a particular system of censorship or control of immoral literature lies on those who advocate the system of control. It must be shown that what is done is the minimum necessary and that interference with the freedom of the individual is minimised.

In this country, our censorship system supplemented, or indeed I think it is fair to say, replaced in some measure the previous criminal procedure. The system of censorship we have is simpler and easier to administer than the criminal procedure previously used. It is also, however, more sweeping. Apart from anything else, the criminal procedure always took account of the circumstances in which books or periodicals were sold, but under the censorship code there is an absolute ban on the sale or importation of specific books. Under the criminal code, which preceded the censorship code which we have, account would be taken in the court of the circumstances in which the book was sold and a book which, if displayed in a window of a shop in a street near a school might be regarded as objectionable—perhaps a medical treatise—could reasonably be sold in proper circumstances in a shop devoted to serious works of that kind. Under our more sweeping but simpler code, that is not possible and, unless one applies for a licence for a particular book, the book is banned for distribution, or sale, or import, in any circumstances.

I hope that the Minister, in replying to the debate will, with a view to refreshing our memories, show us the benefits of or the reasons for the change of procedure. I think we all accept the need for some control of literature of this kind. There was a system of control: clearly it was considered to be ineffective, when so many of the books available in this country are written by people outside, printed and published outside and the criminal code could attack only the distributor and never get at the authors, publishers and printers. Therefore, in such a country, so dependent on literature from outside, a censorship code was thought necessary. I am not entirely convinced by this argument. Perhaps the Minister could tell us something of the philosophy behind our system of control because certainly the system, as operated, has proved immensely damaging to this country and to its prestige in the rest of the world. We have made ourselves a laughing stock decade after decade because of the way in which this code has been implemented and it has taken a very long time for anything to be done about that. A system which in its operation has proved so objectionable and damaging to this country is one which we should reconsider. We should at least think and consider why is it that we have to have such a system. We are, in this Bill, attempting to improve the system, although I shall point out later that I consider the improvements are small and limited and do not go to the root of the matter but any reform is welcome, none the less. As well as considering what reforms are required in the system, bearing in mind the damage the system has done to this country, should we not consider whether it is the best way of tackling the problem? I have an open mind on this but I am not familiar with the reasons which impel the Minister to introduce such a minor reform measure while retaining the system which, in its operation, has been so damaging. I think the Minister, in introducing an amending Bill, should tell us why he thinks this system should be continued and why he thinks this is the best way of tackling the problem. As I have said, I shall listen with interest and an open mind. I think there should be in our circumstances a case for this system, properly operated, but I do think we ought to consider the points I have mentioned at this point in time.

Another feature of the 1929 Act which has given rise to a good deal of the difficulties we now face is the fact that it widened the definition of indecency beyond that accepted under the criminal code of this country inherited from the period of British rule. Previously, the test, as laid down by Lord Chief Justice Coburn in 1868, was whether the tendency of the matter concerned was to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands publications of this sort may fall. The 1929 Act, however, added to the definition—which was approximately the same as that of 1868 in its general tenor—the words: "including suggestive of, or inciting to, sexual immorality or unnatural vice or likely in any other similar way to deprave".

Therefore, not only is an incitement to immorality included in the definition of indecency as was formerly the case but even a suggestion of immorality, so that even the mention of vice could bring something within the terms of indecency and could bring it within the code of control of indecent literature. The censorship code that we operate also has tended in another way to widen the actual operation of this concept of indecent literature because it has removed the control from the courts who have always tended to give the accused the benefit of the doubt and nobody regarding the operations of successive censorship boards could ever feel that they tended to give the accused the benefit of the doubt.

It seems, therefore, that apart from anything else, even if we accept the present system of censorship by a board as the best approach, we should like to hear the Minister further on it. We would want to reconsider very seriously the definition of indecency which in the 1929 Act was widened in a manner which was prima facie undesirable and which has led to an extension of censorship far beyond the area in which it could be appropriately applied. I regret, therefore, that the Minister, in introducing this Bill, has not suggested any change in regard to the definition which has clearly given rise to such difficulty.

I think it can be said that in this field what is more important than definitions is the personnel of the board and the way they administer the Act. We have evidence of this in the past because quite apart from the one legislative change made in 1946 there have been significant changes in the manner in which the board have performed their functions, there have been changes in the personnel of the board and changes perhaps also in the public attitudes and changes in the attitudes of the members of the board over a time to the question of indecent literature. It is, therefore, true that changes in the personnel of the board can perhaps be more important than the actual definition. Nevertheless, it is undesirable that the definition should be so wide that the prestige of this country should be left at the mercy of people who in the past have been narrowminded people and who have unrepentantly applied this widened definition in a manner damaging to this country's reputation. Had the definition been kept in its original form they would have had no licence to act in this manner and might indeed—although I am not sufficient of a lawyer to know—have been amenable to the courts had they sought to widen the definition beyond what was in the original Act.

It is, therefore, important that as well as ensuring that we have a sensible board operating the Act sensibly, we also have a definition which is a proper definition and which does not open up the Act to the kind of abuses which it has suffered over the years. It is worth pointing out here that some of the difficulties we got ourselves into in the years after 1929 were, in fact, foreseen by the committee which considered this whole matter before the Act was introduced in 1929, the Committee on Evil Literature established in 1926. That committee said that the State could not accept the test of virginibus puerisque for what is permissible. They said that literature had never been restricted in any country to writings that met the standard to be observed in works intended only for the youth and the maiden, which is precisely what the Censorship Board proceeded to do in the years after 1929. The committee also recommended distinction between books written with a corrupt intent, or aiming at notoriety and circulation by reason of their appeal to sensual or corrupt instincts and passions and books having a purely literary aim in view but which, as part of their reflection of the world, admit representation of the vices or the passions that exist, a distinction which has been completely ignored by the censorship boards in the years after 1929. The fact that these recommendations of the committee were ignored, that the definition was widened and that the personnel of the Board in the earlier decades were clearly people quite incapable of exercising this responsibility properly, has led to the incredible absurdities that have done us damage like the banning of Kate O'Brien's “Land of Spices” because of two lines on homosexuality.

The situation was aggravated by the 1946 Act which deleted a limiting phrase, a phrase saying a book which is in its general tendency indecent or obscence. This, of course, widened the definition still further. The effect of this policy and the effect of these Acts has been of course to ban a very large proportion of Irish writers and of foreign writers. I should like to quote from an article to which I am indebted for much of what I have said by Father Peter Connolly in Christus Rex. He speaks in that article of cases where books have been banned without any adequate justification. He mentions that by 1945, in 16 years, 44 Irish writers had 170 of their books banned.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Perhaps the Senator could give a more specific reference.

Christus Rex, volume XIII, No. 3, July, 1959— I almost added, half a crown. Also banned, he points out, were seven of the ten US writers judged by The Saturday Review of Literature to be the greatest of the past 20 years; and three out of the five American novels polled in the United States as the greatest of the century. Then there was a long list of well-known writers, including names like William Faulkner, Marcel Proust, Joyce Cary, Aldous Huxley, Liam O'Flaherty, Maura Laverty, Frank O'Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Bruce Marshall, C. P. Snow, Scott Fitzgerald, Erskine Caldwell, Orwell and Halliday Sutherland who wrote “The Laws of Life”. There is no need to recite this at length. We all know the tale but what we are concerned with now is that though we all know it the Minister's reaction is to take such very limited action which goes very little of the way towards solving this problem.

I should like to refer to some of the specific amendments I should have liked to have seen. One would have been a change in the definition of indecency, first of all, to re-introduce the concept of books in their general tendencies indecent or obscene and secondly to eliminate this wording with regard to suggestion which had widened the concept of indecency from incitement to immorality to anything suggestive of immorality. That is one amendment I should have liked to have seen and which we could still try to effect. If it is not by reason of the order of this House possible in this Bill, I think we should consider introducing a Bill that would make that change. The only change in the Bill is the automatic unbanning after 12 years and here the Minister had to be pushed very hard from all sides of the House to come down to 12 years.

The Minister is a good parliamentarian.

I am delighted to hear that.

It is the Minister who is saying it. I do not hear any "hear, hears".

Our experience here suggests that he is being pushed in this way and perhaps we could push him a little further than 12 years.

Induce him. He would not like to be pushed.

The other thing is in regard to the right of appeal. There is a feature of the right of appeal which seems to be restrictive. It relates to the question of who can appeal. Under the Act the appeal may be made by certain specific people, the author, publisher and so on but also by five Members of the Oireachtas. I wonder why it must be five Members. What floodgates is the Minister keeping locked up by requiring that five Members should get together in the matter? Why can it not be any Member of the Dáil or Seanad? Why should he have to go round lobbying other people when it could be done without creating any difficulty?

You would always get five in the Seanad, thanks be to God.

True, but what is the object of retaining in the law a restriction of that kind which only complicates the situation and which gives a sense of inertia which overcomes all of us at times? One might, after reading a book, dash off a letter to the Censorship Board but a person might think a long time before deciding to lobby four other Senators for the purpose. If an amendment of this sort were introduced in this section it could be extended a bit to eliminate that limitation.

Moreover, as it stands this section does not give to the Censorship Appeal Board any right of initiative. They must wait until somebody appeals. This seems to me to be undesirable. If any member of the Appeal Board, having read some book, finds that it should not have been banned, he must go round lobbying T.D.s and Senators. Such a member of the Appeal Board should be able on his own initiative to have the book examined if he feels there is a necessity to have that done. Therefore, I ask the Minister if he would consider an amendment under which the Appeal Board could not only at the instance of five Members of the Oireachtas or of the publisher or author but at the instance of any member of the Appeal Board decide that a book should be looked at again.

As well, it has not been the practice to appoint to this Board any writers and this seems an extraordinary topsyturvy attitude. We should, in considering the banning of books, in all marginal and difficult cases, call in people of literary ability. Even under present legislation some attempt could be made to appoint people of particular competence, either a professor of literature or a writer. This is not something for legislation, I suppose, but something on which the Minister's discretion could be used in relation to the composition of the Board.

Another condition which natural justice requires is that a writer should have the right to appeal and the right of being heard in his defence if he is prepared to do so. The present star chamber procedure, which is behind closed doors, without any opportunity being given to writers to have their views heard and considered, seems to be objectionable if not unconstitutional.

These are some amendments which could have been introduced and which I think should be introduced. I am puzzled as to why the Minister, when taking the trouble to bring in the Bill, should have limited himself to the relatively minor amendments, useful in their own way, particularly the first one which gets us off the hook in relation to much of modern literature; but I am puzzled why he did not go further while he was at it and get himself some credit for clearing up the censorship code entirely.

Another matter in respect of which the Minister has done nothing—here I am particularly surprised that he should have taken no action—is the importation of banned books. The situation here is entirely unsatisfactory. I spoke earlier of the situation probably being unconstitutional under present legislation, but I am speaking now of the customs officer having the right to confiscate a single book brought in by a person for his own use without there being any question of the person selling it, distributing it or in any way circulating it for the purpose of corrupting other people. Such activity should not be contemplated. It is something which in any event is unconstitutional.

The position is complicated because this is done under the provisions of an odd combination of the Censorship Acts of this State and the 1876 Customs Consolidation Act which we have inherited and a number of whose provisions are unconstitutional. It is again something the Minister could direct his attention to. There are in that Act sections 232 and 240 under which people can be locked up without any right of appeal at the instance of the Revenue Commissioners. Under it people are, in fact, incarcerated and, indeed, not very long ago there was a case under which the period of incarceration was concurrent and identical with that specified by the court. It broke down because the Governor of the prison forgot to draw the attention of the Revenue Commissioners to it when the time for release came and the person spent the weekend in jail.

That section of that Act is not relevant here but I draw the Minister's attention to another example of the provisions of the Act which are unconstitutional and about which, after 30 years under our own Constitution, we might get around to do something. It is something which, if the Minister does not do, we propose to do it for him. Section 42 of the Act provides:

The goods enumerated and described in the following table of prohibitions and restrictions inwards are hereby prohibited to be "imported or brought" into the United Kingdom, save as thereby excepted and if any goods so enumerated and described shall be imported or brought into the United Kingdom contrary to the prohibitions or restrictions contained therein, such goods shall be forfeited, and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the Commissioners of Customs may direct.

The interesting thing about it is—apart from the fact that while it may have been perfectly legal under the British regime it is not constitutional under our Constitution—that there is no provision as to how it is decided in respect of books how they are determined to be indecent or obscene. The table sets out:

Indecent or obscene prints, paintings, photographs, books, cards, lithographic or other engravings, or any other indecent or obscene articles.

It is not even suggested in that clause that these should be defined as indecent or obscene in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners. It is simply decided by the Revenue Commissioners that they are indecent or obscene and there does not seem to be any procedure through which that verdict can be challenged. That procedure is backed up by our own Censorship Acts. Visitors coming in here, bona fide, bringing in books which are accepted as part of world literature, find themselves deprived of their property, which they bought in good faith. This gives them a most peculiar feeling, like entering communist China, instead of being encouraged by a country which purports to welcome tourists.

Mind you, this is being operated and we have had examples of its operation in the not too distant past. I recall coming back on one occasion, having been to England. I had travelled a lot and had purchased a number of books, en route to read, and had purchased a number to bring home with me. The result was that I had accumulated a lot of books, none of which was banned, none of which was indecent or obscene; but the attitude of the Customs man was one of immediate suspicion and alarm. He asked me was I involved in a newsagency. I thought he meant Reuter or Press Association and I said I had written for newspapers now and again. I realised immediately that I was a suspect person. The mere fact of being literate is considered sufficient to render one suspect in this country. He examined all the books carefully and let me pass, which was more than he did when I brought back some fireworks shortly afterwards. Fireworks are prohibited, too.

This provision is entirely objectionable. One can conceive that the customs authorities must have power to control the import of indecent literature for sale and distribution. If somebody arrives with a number of these books, particularly with a whole lot of them, and they seem to be obviously intended for sale and distribution, they must have power to confiscate them, but this power should be confined to cases where the Revenue Commissioners have reason to believe that the books are being imported for sale and distribution and they intend to prosecute on that account. Of course, in such cases there must be power of confiscation pending the result of the prosecution. But they should have no power to interfere with the individual traveller travelling on his own legitimate business simply because some book he has was banned under the lunatic Irish censorship code in the previous 40 years, or as it is to be now, 12 years.

The Minister should have introduced such an amendment to the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876 and to the Censorship Acts, because it is, in fact, by a peculiar combination of these that this power is operated, because section 13 of the Act of 1929 provided that:

Where a prohibition order had been made in relation to a book or a particular edition of a book or a periodical publication, then so long as such order is in operation the importation (otherwise than under and in accordance with a permit in writing granted under this Act) of any edition of such book or issue of such periodical publication (as the case may be) to which such order for the time being applies shall be added to and included in the table of prohibitions and restrictions inwards contained in section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, and that section shall have effect accordingly.

In other words, we are not prepared even to leave the situation that the customs authorities shall confiscate what they think is an indecent or obscene book where they might suspect that some books were indecent or obscene. We require them, in addition, to confiscate ones which we have banned, showing a remarkable lack of confidence in our own censorship code, as to whether it operates properly or not. If we were satisfied that it was only banning indecent or obscene books that section of the 1929 Act would not have been necessary, and it could now, with the relevant section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act, be usefully repealed.

On the point of the length of time that should elapse before books are automatically unbanned, the Minister has in the Dáil, as I have said, consented to a reduction of the period from 20 to 12 years. I should like to quote from a letter I received from a member of the clergy on this point, advocating a ten year period as the maximum.

(a) On the moral ground that literary works, however powerful and alien to the home outlook, can be and will be digested and assimilated by the educated or intelligent within a decade of their first appearance. If not they will hardly ever be assimilated (of course this approach assumes that clergy and teachers will give a more positive moral formation from now on); (b) on literary and cultural grounds also, ten years indicate clearly enough whether a book is significant or not, and usually provide as well a provisional "placing" or rank for the book while the middle range and lesser books are obsolescent by the end of a decade. Briefly, if we have to wait 20 years for a certain range of books, they will, from the literary point of view, not then really contribute to the vital cultural ferment which feeds creative writers and the cultural community. Ten years, in my opinion, would be a better compromise, for such a time lag would keep the Irish community sufficiently in touch with contemporary currents of sensibility while allowing for that margin of difference in our way of life which still exists and which may need some cushioning.

That is on this issue of the 12 years, which is certainly an improvement on the 20 years proposed. There is not much point in arguing on the difference in this matter, but I regret that the Minister did not accept the ten years suggestion made in the Dáil but felt that he had to fall a couple of years short of it.

Another section of the original legislation which is now becoming totally nonsensical and liable to get us caught in rather awkward situations if we do not do something about it is that dealing with books or articles advocating the unnatural prevention of conception. Thinking on this subject, as Members of the House are aware, has been changing with great rapidity recently, and but for the fact that fortunately—one must say that in inverted commas—the law in this respect has not been applied, we would get very few newspapers or magazines from outside this country. But for the fortunate fact that it is not being applied we would have to fear for many theological pronouncements from the highest authority, and might, indeed, come to the point where we would have a Papal Nuncio protesting because of our censorship of the next encyclical on the subject. But as, in fact, this is not enforced that problem is not likely to arise. However, the law as it stands could apply to any newspapers or magazines which discuss this problem thoroughly, as it needs to be discussed. While it may be premature to modify our thinking in respect of contraception, it is certainly not premature, but already too late, even to be setting about amending the law with respect to the discussion of the problem of contraception, which is, indeed, totally ineffective. The Minister has failed to introduce any amendment in this Bill and is, in fact, maintaining the law as it is irrespective of future modifications. This brings the law into contempt and it is something which the Minister should consider and he could usefully introduce an amendment even at this stage.

These are some of the defects I find in the Bill. They are, of course, with one minor exception, regarding the ten year period, defects by omission rather than by commission. The Minister is to be congratulated to a modest extent on having introduced some improvement in our legislation. It is true that many of the mistakes in the past administration of the Censorship Board will be relieved by the automatic unbanning of everything which was banned before 1955. That will go a long way towards retrieving the situation, but it does not go any real distance towards improving it for the future. So long as the situation persists that our definition of indecency is much too wide, and so long as individual customs officers can and do confiscate books from individual travellers, so long as these things exist we shall continue to represent a face of obscurantism to the world.

This is a pity, because we have a code of values in this country of which we can and should be proud, and it is not to our advantage in any respect, either to our own self-confidence or in the view of the world, that we should operate such a system of censorship that can raise in our own minds contempt and cynicism and create a feeling of an inferiority complex vis-á-vis critics from outside who so readily complain of blunders made under our system. If we are to maintain our view and have confidence in our view that there are values to be preserved and that it is right and proper that pornography should be restrained, we would need to make the changes I have suggested in order that we shall not feel in the position of weakness in facing critics from outside and can be confident that our legislation does what needs to be done and what other countries are, in fact, omitting to do, but does no more than that. Our legislation should be something which is appropriate to a Christian country but appropriate also to a country in which individual freedom and liberty are a matter of public concern. It is a pity the Minister has not taken the opportunity to make those other changes which could have turned our censorship into a sensible and responsible one, a defensible one, one of which we could be reasonably proud, about which we could be reasonably happy, one which we could defend in good faith to people of other countries without any feeling of an inferiority complex because of features we could not defend properly. It is a pity this opportunity has been missed. On Committee Stage I will do what I can to remedy any of the Minister's omissions, which can be remedied at this stage, within the limits of order in this House. So far as any difficulty of this nature arises on any of his amendments I think some of us in this House should then consider initiating a measure of reform for those other aspects which the Minister has seen fit not to deal with on this occasion.

I welcome this measure. It is a pleasure at this stage to compliment the Minister on this very minor progressive step rather than criticise him as has been his lot for the past few months and as I expect it will be for quite a while to come in other spheres. I am very glad to have the opportunity of saying that even though this is a very minor measure in the light of the circumstances of our environment it could be looked on as a rather important one.

It is a limited, timid, tattering attempt, if you like, to remedy the green mould of the green curtain imposed here practically since 1929. Very often over the years I have been amazed at the brass neck of the socalled leaders of our society who talk about behind the blue curtain, the Iron Curtain and all the other sorts of curtain which exist elsewhere whilst at home we have had a very effective one erected to keep our people out of touch with world literature through the application of this reprehensible censorship brought in by a native government. Everybody who spoke of this in the Dáil and elsewhere made sure to point out that we were all anxious to protect our youth from the evils of pornography. That goes without saying. When I read speeches by some of those people I am always reminded of the attempts of people to revive the Irish language who start off with "A cháirde Gaeil" and such other pious statements to protect them from the knives on the flanks. The Minister has taken great care with regard to many of those comments to leave no avenue open in relation to those people who hide behind the curtains of this community.

It could be an interesting study of our society, if such were practicable, to know what would this country be like since 1926, since first the idea of censorship was contemplated, if the Act of 1929 had not been brought in. Would we have a different society? Has this censorship legislation protected the Irish people from the terrible contamination it was suggested was likely to take place by having the people inundated with low-type literature from abroad? It is worth examination to consider why the Irish Government thought it right to spend so much time thinking of how they should prevent people from taking advantage of enriching their minds in the storehouse of world literature and to consider especially the effects of what would have happened if they had not decided to murder and slaughter each other and if there had been some kind of reaction brought about in the minds of the leaders in the early 1920s. They abrogated the right of Parliament to decide how to keep freedom of expression and thought ripe and they decided to hand it over, in the words of Senator FitzGerald, to people who proved to be very narrow-minded in the interpretation of the legislation then passed. The attempt to change and to protect the minds of the people with this kind of legislation was followed up later on by other types of legislation to protect the physical well-being of our people.

I refer now to the legislation brought in after 1929 in industry. The idea from 1922 on was to protect, or if you like, to keep away from anything that was not native, to protect the mind, as well as industry from competition with outside ideas. Great harm has been done to our community through the mentality that has been brought here as a result of censorship of one shape or form. People are afraid to talk out. They are afraid to say publicly what they know to be the facts and which should be said publicly. There is no end to criticism of the censorship laws behind the scenes. When people get together privately in a club or elsewhere they sneer at the idea of censorship here, but very few people will say publicly what they are prepared to say privately. Therefore, in the circumstances, I consider that the step taken by the Minister will encourage many people to get through this curtain and to help to encourage legislation which will probably revolutionise our thinking on censorship. It is hard to know why the Minister decided, at this stage, to bring in this legislation. Maybe he did the right thing for the wrong reason. I do not know.

(Longford): Or maybe the right thing for the right reason.

I have an idea that the Government looking towards Europe and in the light of statements made by the former Taoiseach as to letting "Lemass lead on", that we are Europeans, suddenly when they found they were not European in their outlook, decided that some step would have to be taken just in case there was the slightest possibility we would be allowed into the European Community. Although that is the subject for another debate the very fact that there is this danger of membership of the EEC looming on the horizon has done good in that the Government are now being forced to take steps to liberalise a situation here at home. Senator FitzGerald quoted a letter from some anonymous clergyman. I am not asking him to disclose the name. I respect the accuracy of what he said.

They felt that the period of restriction should be ten years instead of the period first laid down by the Minister which he later settled for a period of 12 years. I referred to fair days and fair days are bad for the Minister at the moment. In relation to the ten-year period, suggested by Senator FitzGerald, there is a lag here in Ireland and this period of ten years would be the maximum period laid down. There is a difference between us and people in Europe and elsewhere. If that lag is there who is responsible for it? Who has brought it about? Do the Members of this House accept responsibility for it or do the Members of Dáil Éireann accept that responsibility? Somebody must accept responsibility and those who must accept it are those who have had charge of the moral outlook over the last 40 years. When we are so far behind in our thinking, the blame must be laid fairly and squarely on the shoulders of those who have been advising over the years on what the moral commitments are and how our censorship laws should react.

Those in public life are saddled with blame that should lie elsewhere. When I hear a clergyman expounding socialism and people in this House described as communists over the last 15 years, it makes one think. Who is right and where can the line be drawn? How much heed should we give people who as theologians have been advising Governments in this country over the past 40 years and who are now turning somersaults?

That is not true as far as individuals are concerned.

We are the individuals who are suffering. When we see the effects of Government policy, for example in the industrial and economic field, over the past 40 years, which have driven one million Irish people out of the country, can we at this stage say that those people, most of whom are resident in Britain, are contaminated, that they are less good Irishmen or that they are immoral or inferior to us in any way because they have been exposed to a different society where censorship in the form we know it here is completely unknown? It is in such a context that we should examine our consciences and our actions over the years.

The real damage is done not to ourselves, as Senator FitzGerald said, but outside in other nations. They know our censorship laws; they know what happens at the customs, what happens to Irish authors whose work is of a high standard, where the home country has sought fit to ban a wonderful literature to the Irish community. In that sense we should look on it as a most unusual situation, to say the least of it.

It is hard to understand why, when the 1929 Act and the 1935 Act—this is another Act which has a bearing on certain aspects of censorship—were introduced no thought was given at all to the position in the Six Counties. I mention that specifically now because the people, particularly from 1932 on, who were responsible for this type of legislation were at the same time very voluble about the Six Counties and the necessity for bringing them in with the Twenty Six. Here, again, we should examine the position and see whether over the last 40 years the people in the Six Counties have suffered in any shape or form because they have been exposed to the evils of literature. Have they been brainwashed or have they all become depraved because they have not the same censorship laws as we have? Has there been a decline in the moral fibre in the Six Counties for those not depending on our legislation? It is by making such comparisons that we shall realise the foolishness of wrapping ourselves in such a cocoon or pulling the wool over our eyes.

Just as Senator FitzGerald, I should like to see a far wider scope in this legislation and drastic changes made. I realise that in our society we must have a certain amount of patience and accept the measure as it stands with a view to bringing about in the near future changes of the nature to which I have referred. I should like, without delaying the House further, to point out that the position in so far as customs and excise are concerned is outrageous. It is bad enough to have the Censorship Act of 1929 as it is without having actual discretion left to a customs officer who, in fact, is the censor nine times out of ten as far as books are concerned. A very bad impression is made at the point of entry to this country.

Bad and all as the Board are, it is far worse when a customs officer who has no training or knowledge whatever in censorship laws withholds a book. Perhaps, indeed, his reading may be very limited. There is another form of censorship of which the Minister must be aware. Despite this formidable array of censorship laws which allows any amount of thrash to come into the country, there is a second machine which operates in local libraries, where you have the local vigilantes who decide what books should be made available to the public. They recommend to the librarians whether such and such a book should appear on the shelves. On the shelves there are other books for the benefit of little circles who are unofficial censors. I had occasion to deal with that and we put an end to it in parts of my county. It is in operation in certain parts of the country and I hope the Minister will show those people that they have no authority whatever to decide that there will be another form of censorship outside the official one, which is bad enough as it is. I would only widen the scope of the debate if I were to refer to many issues which are of major importance at the present time and which the Government must face. I presume the Minister, by introducing this legislation, is more or less testing the feelings of the public and as he now realises this measure has got such approval, it should encourage him to introduce without delay further measures which will improve the situation all round in other spheres.

I should like to start by congratulating the Minister, as others have done. He is taking a very considerable step in the right direction. I shall be critical later of the whole notion of censorship, but we have it on the Statute Book and I think this Bill represents quite a positive right step. I should like to think the Minister is impelled to do this because of strong public opinion. It may well be that Senator McQuillan is right, that public opinion is now in favour of change here. I am rather afraid that we have been so cotton-woolled and mollycoddled down the years that public opinion is not in fact very vocal about censorship of literature. In fact, the Irish public have been discouraged by this type of paternalism —virtue by legislation—from growing up. It has been said that it takes some people a long time to grow up and some people just get taller. I am afraid the latter applies to quite a number of our people.

Therefore, in one sense, it is all the more to the credit of the Minister, if this cannot be said to be a vote-catching Bill but to be a Bill, the justification for which lies in the Minister's views, and the Government's view, presumably, that it is about time we radically altered the censorship legislation, and, in particular released, as it were, from the ban, a great number of fine books, pieces of great writing which have long been under the ban, not to their disgrace but to ours.

The Minister modified the Bill somewhat in the Dáil. I should like to see one or two further modifications. I think this period of 12 years is perhaps a little long. We might discuss that with more profit on Committee Stage. I am more worried, however, about section 3, which enables the Censorship Board to make a further prohibition order in respect of any book which is unbanned by this Act. I should be very much afraid that a whole lot of books would be unbanned for about a week and then rebanned under this third section. I should like to see some kind of safeguard written into this section to prevent the present absurd state of things from recurring; because there is no clause or subsection in this which even says that the Censorship Board has to re-read a book before banning it—merely that they shall have the power to reban. This is not necessary and not wise.

I had the curiosity to look up the early debate on the 1929 Act, which was in fact introduced in 1928, and I found there that the Minister introducing it—Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenny —thought that the Act he was introducing would be applied in a liberal and moderate way. He quoted, first of all, the definition, which was at first proposed of the word "indecent" as follows; this I am quoting from volume 26 of the Dáil Report of 18th October, 1929, column 596:

The word "indecent" shall be construed as including calculated to excite sexual passion or to suggest or incite to sexual immorality, or in any other way to corrupt or deprave.

In the following column, 597, the then Minister said:

.... I cannot understand the class of book which would excite some person just to proper love and might not excite others towards unlawful lust.

Surely, this still has a good deal of relevance today as well as then.

I think the Minister here today recognised the fact that a good deal of the matter for censorship, or the recreation of the reader, is subjective and that it is not really possible for anybody, no matter how well intentioned, to decide "this book will be harmful to everybody; that book will be harmful to nobody". Therefore, I feel that all State censorship is doomed to failure and is, consequently, a bad thing. I noticed that the then Minister was supported by that well-known Liberal, Professor Michael Tierney, who spoke very strongly in favour of a full liberal interpretation of legislation about morality. The Bill was criticised, however, by a rather straitlaced and puritanical young Fianna Fáil Deputy—Seán Lemass was the name— who felt that the Government of that day, in his words at column 637:

has been too slow and too cautious in introducing a measure of this kind.

The fighting Opposition of those days, which had been in opposition in the Dáil for just two years, felt that the censorship then being introduced by Cumann na nGaedheal was not strong enough. I was disappointed in that; I would have felt that in 1929 Fianna Fáil would still have retained some of their old fighting rebellious qualities. But no, the criticism was that the Government were not going far enough.

My feeling about this piece of legislation is that you cannot legislate to make people virtuous, but you may fool yourself; you may put something in the Parliamentary shop window as it were, but you cannot legislate people to remain in, or to enter, a state of virtue. Furthermore, the suggestion is, of course, that if you remove certain literature, temptation, people, by the absence of temptation, will remain, however reluctantly, in a state of virtue. I cannot believe that even theologians think that, though I do not claim to be an expert in that field.

Lead us not into temptation.

This phrase "Lead us not into temptation" has always struck me as being an odd one. I think the phrase is misconceived my-self—"prevent our being led", perhaps, but I cannot conceive of a merciful, all-powerful and benevolent deity actually "leading" his creatures into temptation. Milton was right, surely, when he said: "I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue"—the virtue that knows no temptation, that is shut away from all temptation, that is shielded by high walls, or by paper legislation, or censorship, is not virtue at all. It may be absence of vice, but I think we would recognise that absence of vice cannot be said to be virtue which is surely a positive thing and not to be conferred on the nation, even by the Minister for Justice.

I should like to think that we could evolve, as I believe we are evolving, into a more adult people. I believe that maturity is something to be encouraged. It may be said—I heard it once said at the L and H in UCD many years ago that apparently in the moral nursery in which the Irish were being brought up only soft toys were being allowed. They were not allowed to grapple with the major problems; they had to be protected and cosseted by mentors and by Ministers. I feel that you cannot ensure virtue by these means.

Furthermore, everybody knows and nobody will deny that there are major stupidities involved in the actual exercise of the censorship legislation. For instance, there is always a long delay during which books are pretty freely available and can be bought long before they are effectively banned. Then there is the other type of stupidity as when the "Laws of Life" by Halliday Sutherland was banned although it had a permissu superiorum for its second and subsequent editions. Unfortunately the Censorship Board made the mistake of looking only at the first edition which had no such imprimatur or permissu superiorum and they made the mistake of banning it in all its editions though it gave the approved Catholic method, the rhythm method of birth control. The book in all its editions was banned although some 20 years later Halliday Sutherland issued another book on practically the same lines which he called “The Control of Life” and which is not banned. I regard Dr. Halliday Sutherland as a particularly obnoxious person and his self-sufficiency appears to me to be repulsive, but I would not on that account ban his book, despite the very offensive way in which he writes. For instance, in “The Control of Life”, the second volume which came out 20 years later, he actually apologises to any of his readers of this book who may owe their existence to errors in the earlier book! That does not seem to me a very fine attitude and the whole absurdity of the partial ban and the banning of a book with the Catholic permissu superiorum made a laughingstock of our censors at that time.

Mention has been made of the customs and the intervention of customs officials. I only once had the experience of having a book seized at the customs. It only occurred to me afterwards that the customs officials acted improperly. If it had occurred to me at the time I would have tested it. The book in question was already banned. It was "Borstal Boy", a very remarkable book, a very fine piece of writing, sensitive, humorous and extremely well put together in my opinion, a very moving book, by Brendan Behan. I had this book at home and I bought the paperback edition in England. It was at the top of my suitcase and was taken away by the customs. On reflection, I would contend that the customs have the right to seize a book which they think should be bannable in order to submit it to the Censorship Board, but have not the right to prevent me from having in my possession a book which is already banned. I think I am right in saying that the Censorship Act does not prohibit the possession of a banned book, and consequently if a customs officer is seizing it and seizing it under some Police Act of Queen Victoria for the purpose of submitting it to the Censorship Board he is entitled to do that in the case of a book that is not banned, but clearly he is acting ultra vires if the book is already banned. I should like the Minister's comment on that: as to whether the customs have the right to seize individual copies of books that are already banned, and, if so, under what Act and for what purpose?

Paul Blanchard, who spent about six months in this country, and wrote a book which he called "The Irish and Catholic Power" writes about the "censorship, official and unofficial", in his fifth chapter quoting Yeats in the Seanad as saying: "I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the general conscience of mankind." Blanchard comments himself upon our censorship:

Like Spain's Inquisition under Torquemada the Irish Book Censorship is not so much famous as infamous. Because of its infamy it is probably the best-known feature of the Irish clerical Republic. At one time or another the censorship has victimised almost every distinguished writer of fiction in the non-Irish world and it has brought under its blight Ireland's greatest poets, dramatists, and scholars. Its black list, as a Catholic writer in the Irish Times has suggested, might almost be considered “a concise index to modern literature.”

Commenting on that, a Jesuit periodical entitled "America" and produced in the United States said editorially:

What Mr. Blanchard says about book censorship in Ireland can hardly be gainsaid.

Blanchard's words were strong, and editorially an American Jesuit periodical says that you simply cannot deny the truth of them. Blanchard then gives you a frightening list of the type of books and authors that have been banned. Many of them have been mentioned by Senator FitzGerald already. There is Leon Blum, for instance, Joyce Cary, Noel Coward, Simone De Beauvóir, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anatole France, Sigmund Freud, André Gide, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Maxim Gorki, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Arthur Koestler, Maura Laverty, Walter Macken, Compton Mackenzie, Frank O'Connor, Seán Ó Faoláin, Liam O'Flaherty, George Orwell, Bernard Shaw, Ignazio Silone, Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck.

Was any work of James Joyce ever banned by the Censorship Board? I think not.

The Senator is under a misapprehension. He thinks I am referring to Ulysses. I am not. It was never banned but Stephen Hero was banned.

It is the only one of James Joyce banned—so far. Such a list then astonishes even such a well-informed Senator as my colleague Senator Stanford.

Ill-informed it turns out.

Usually well-informed, who can hardly believe that James Joyce would be banned. All those people were banned and, of course, many more in the four or five thousand on this list of banned writers. We note what is in the Jesuit periodical. This indictment based upon such a list would appear to be justified.

On the question of censorship I believe, and I think Senator G. FitzGerald made the point, that the chief abuse of our censorship is that it bans what is "not fit for children". This is to reduce ourselves to an immature state. I believe myself, in relation to literature, that two factors operate in regard to children. One is that children are largely immune to certain influences in literature. Things pass over their heads which are meaningful to others. Secondly, parental guidance and example are far more important than what the censors decide shall or shall not be available in the shops. Before this debate a Senator jokingly said to me that he hoped I would not use any four-letter words during my speech. I should like to remind the Seanad that life itself is a four-letter word.

That is not without significance. The attitude of many is that Ireland is a country where foul language is unheard of, but nobody walking through the streets of Dublin and listening to the prattle of infants can fail to collect a large number of four-lettered words, used meaningfully or in a meaningless way by the children in this city, many of them long before they reach the stage of literacy. Cardinal Newman was right when he stated that you cannot write literature about a sinful creature without depicting sin. That is what I mean when I remind you that life is a four-letter word.

There is one point which puzzles me about the sincerity of those who happen to be of the opinion that there is only one type of sin, sexual sin, and I want to tell the House something that will possibly come as news to it: apart from sexual lust there are six other deadly sins. Apparently they are not recognised by the Minister for Justice in relation to the censorship of publications. Of course, he recognises them as Minister for Justice and realises that one could get locked up for some of them, but there are these other six and the Minister is sitting there doing nothing about them in relation to censorship. Literature can be full of these other sins. These other sins can be rampant in the country, but our censorship legislation does not even recognise their existence.

What is the Minister doing about these other deadly sins? What is he doing about the sin of anger, about the sin of envy, about the sin of covetousness, about the sin of sloth, about the sin of gluttony, about the sin of pride? Can he help us to stamp out and resist these other sins, equally deadly, by means of legislation? I should like to hear him on that point. I have no doubt he will endeavour strenuously to introduce legislation to clear away these equally evil manifestations of human nature.

Anger. After all, we have seen Ministers occasionally in this House— not the present Minister; I have never seen him angry at all—we have seen other Ministers committing the deadly sin of anger here before our eyes and the Captain of the Guard did not come along and take them away until they cooled down—of course, we have not got a decompression chamber here for Ministers, or even Senators, to recover from this equally deadly sin.

Envy. We read recently about The Taoiseach Stakes. It seemed to many of us that a good deal of envy was on display, and by prominent people, all of whom shall be nameless. What does the censorship of publications legislation do to help us to combat that sin, equally deadly?

Covetousness. I received a publication from Bord na gCon, The Greyhound Board, who deal with greyhound racing, and it reveals that the turnover in betting is nearly £6 million a year. There are a number of photographs of some very lean and fit-looking greyhounds and of some less lean and less fit human beings——

Members of the Board.

——some of whom I am afraid have been at least partially corrupted by this equally deadly sin of covetousness and also even by another deadly sin, the deadly sin of gluttony, to which I shall refer again in a moment. In our whole productive and distributive system here there is the desire for gain, rapacity, the profit motive, all promoted by the desire for more possessions—covetousness, in fact. Can the Minister, by some amendment to this Bill, discourage the publication of these glossy magazines and other publications which would seem to encourage covetousness in the whole nation—£5,800,000 in betting, not for the purpose of encouraging the breeding of greyhounds, but for private reasons of mere covetousness?

Here in the Seanad we have motions on the Order Paper for six to eighteen months. How can we lift up our heads and talk about people being guilty of sloth? We in the Seanad are not sufficiently protected against this deadly sin.

I mentioned Bord na gCon. What about Bord Fáilte? The sin of gluttony is encouraged in dens of iniquity such as Bunratty Castle where you have people eating and drinking and swilling, with great big napkins about their necks and legs of chicken in their fists. There is encouragement also to consume large amounts of alcohol. Is that not concomitant to the deadly sin of gluttony? I noticed that in the original debate one of my predecessor representatives of Trinity College, the late Sir James Craig, commented that drink was a far greater curse to this country than sexual immorality. What is the Minister contemplating about drink? Drink, surely he might think, is part of the deadly sin of gluttony. Can the Minister help us with censorship legislation to discourage the consumption of alcoholic liquor? Is that his intention?

Finally, the sixth of the deadly sins which is allowed to run riot in literature, without any legislation to stop it, is the sin of pride. We find people building gigantic memorials to themselves, in postures of pride, which also might perhaps be discouraged by legislation. I am inclined to say that there are even some clerical pronouncements which are not exactly weighed down with excessive humility; and if this deadly sin is as deadly as they tell us, then it is time the Minister and the Oireachtas woke up to the danger of those who would, when we are trying to protect our people by a Censorship of Publications Act, press us to protect them only from the seventh deadly sin of lust.

Why is it singled out? I wonder has it anything to do with the vow of celibacy, which, in defiance of the Divine command to increase and multiply, is taken by a great deal of our men and women. I find myself wondering whether, if the vow was total abstinence from alcohol, pulpits would ring no more with diatribes about sexual immorality but rather about whiskey advertisements, and about the appalling wickedness of declaring that Guinness is good for you.

We seem to be terribly frightened of one deadly sin, trying by legislation to protect our people against it but we allow six other deadly sins, which are equally wicked, to be rife in publications and newspapers, rife in suggestive articles without any interference at all by the Government, by the Minister or the Censorship Board. I ask the Minister if he will consider an amendment to this Bill empowering him to ban all literature which would lead to pride or anger or covetousness or gluttony or the rest of them. Otherwise, it would appear to me that the Minister would by implication be recognising that censorship of publications is, in fact, a dead letter.

That is, in fact, what I believe it to be. I believe that it is a false view that people can be made good by legislation. I believe that on the other hand they can sometimes be held back by legislation, can be spiritually and intellectually retarded, head-shrunk by legislation. Let us recognise that in the last Censorship Bill we had before us there was a distinct improvement in that an Appeal Board was introduced, and the Appeal Board in my opinion has worked quite well— not universally well, but on the whole it has been a good thing. Nevertheless, the whole apparatus of censorship is a blundering and only half-literate machine, and in my opinion it is bad in concept and ineffectual in its results.

I do not believe that pornography leads to immorality or increases it. The suggestion is that pornography arouses sexual passions but the question must be asked and answered, do sexual passions lie totally dormant in illiterate people? The answer is surely "No." There are other things in life which arouse sexual passions. It would be a bold person who would say that the mini-skirt does not arouse sexual passions. The Greek Government has just banned the mini-skirt, but I think that we have enough sense in this country to recognise that their intervention by legislation would be a mistake. Let us recognise also that 40 years ago the sight of a feminine ankle, which would now not occasion even a passing glance, would have aroused sexual passions. There is, of course, a terror in this country of literature or writing which might lead to masturbation. This is still regarded with excessive terror, but it is, in fact, much more common than is thought, and it is, indeed, recognised now to be far less harmful than used to be considered. My submission would be that such aberrations and practices would not, in fact, diminish if Irishmen tomorrow were found to have become totally incapable of reading in English. I say advisedly reading in English because I believe that I am correct in saying that no book in any language other than English has ever been banned. I think that under the Act books could be banned in other languages, but they never have been, because the Censorship Board is asked to take into account the language in which the book is printed. It would appear that English is the only language through the medium of which Irish people can be corrupted. Does this mean that if they are capable of reading French or Latin, German or Spanish, they are already damned beyond redemption, or what does it mean? Does it mean that if you can read Irish you are so far gone that there is no point in banning the original Irish version of the "Midnight Court", for instance, which only becomes dangerous when it is produced in a book and in a language that the majority of our people can read? It is very odd that the "Midnight Court" is not banned in Irish but that it is banned in English. How does that come about, in view of the fact that there are some people in this country who can read Irish fairly fluently?

I would conclude by saying that personally I am against all censorship by the State. Public opinion in a country which is encouraged to think and to grow up will render the production and sale of books on brutality and violence and vulgarity an unprofitable enterprise in Ireland. That is the way I would like to see such books dealt with.

I remember hearing Father Burke Savage at a meeting of the Association of Civil Liberties saying on censorship that we needed special protection here because we must recognise that the Irish people on the whole are an under-educated people. As Senator McQuillan asked, who is doing the educating? If there is a falling down, and if we are producing an undereducated people, must we not demand that education should not be in immaturity, and not to a level which could only be deemed immature, undergrown, juvenile and childish?

I recognise then that in relation to this Bill the Minister is travelling in the right direction and that he deserves congratulations for introducing this kind of legislation. I believe that he does it from the best of motives, because he is a progressive and forward-looking person. I look forward, therefore, to his further progress along this path.

I would like briefly to welcome this Bill as on the whole a considerable improvement on the present position. It is obvious that it does not completely do away with the difficulties posed by the whole notion of censorship. There is, I suppose, something, as Senator Sheehy Skeffington suggested, inherently obnoxious in the idea of a board of censors, however well qualified they might be, sitting in judgment on the writings of authors in Ireland and throughout the world. The difficulty is that in spite of what Senator Sheehy Skeffington suggests, I do not think there is a great deal of alternative. Senator Sheehy Skeffington suggested that, in fact, there should be no State censorship of any kind. Obviously, one can put up an argument in favour of that proposition, but it is not, I think, a state of affairs which exists in any country in the world. All countries have some sort of State sanction against pornography, whether by some sort of board as we have or else by means of the criminal law. In our circumstances I think we must recognise that some form of State-censorship is inevitable. Senator FitzGerald, if I understood him aright, rather leans towards the idea that perhaps it would be better to do away with the Censorship Board altogether and rely on the courts and the criminal law. I gathered that, while not necessarily convinced that this was a good thing, he was rather inclined to think in that direction. I feel that, on the contrary, with all its faults which still exist the system of a censorship board is on the whole better.

I was merely anxious to elicit the arguments for it. I have an open mind on the point.

That is what I understood, that he had an open mind but was inclined to think that perhaps the criminal law might be the solution. Experience in England and some other countries has shown that the system of prosecution by means of the criminal law in cases of pornography has not been effective. They have led to considerable abuses and to considerable differences between the decisions of the courts in one case and another. There is no particular pattern that can be seen. In particular from the point of view of the bookseller, I think the system of applying the criminal law is highly undesirable. One thing at least can be said for the present censorship position. It does safeguard the bookseller, and he can at least feel that if a book is not on the banned list he is safe in selling it. I would be very much afraid that in this country if we relied on the criminal law, booksellers would tend to take the easy line and to eliminate from their wares any book which could conceivably be held to be objectionable. We might well find along with other defects books which were not on sale, which had not been banned by the Censorship Board because the booksellers were afraid of coming into conflict with the law and undergoing prosecution. On the whole, I think the Minister is correct in making the minimum change in the sense that he is keeping the Censorship Board idea. The improvements made in this Bill, though, of course, limited, are on the whole more substantial than Senator FitzGerald is prepared to concede.

The obvious change made by the Bill is that a vast number of books, many of them of very great literary merit, will now be free from the ban. I am rather sorry that the Minister, in bringing in this Bill, has chosen, if I understand him rightly in the other House in particular, to do so on the basis that the standard of public taste, discrimination and so on has changed and that there is a sort of implied suggestion that while it was all right for those books to be banned 20 or 30 years ago the time has now come when they could safely be let loose on the public.

We should in this instance be clear what we are doing. We should be quite clear in our minds that many disgraceful things were done in the early years, in the first 20 years of the Censorship Board. Books were banned which should never have been banned at any time. We should be quite clear in our minds on that. A number of Irish writers such as Bernard Shaw, Kate O'Brien, Frank O'Connor, James Joyce, Austin Clarke, Seán Ó Faoláin, Liam O'Flaherty have been banned.

I have quoted Irish authors—and many others non-Irish should not have been banned. Those writers were declared before the Irish public and the world as writing books which were inclined to corrupt, deprave or incite to immorality. This is a ridiculous suggestion and could only have come from what one could only describe as bigoted cranks. Those books should not have been banned. I am sorry the Minister did not come in here and say: "We accept the gravest mistakes were made in the early stages and we are now remedying them in this Bill". It is a pity that this was not done from the point of view of the reputation of our country abroad which is very low from a censorship point of view. It was a mistake to suggest that this legislation was being brought in merely because of changing public standards in morality. Those may have changed, but many books were formerly banned which under no conceivable standard of morality could or should have been banned. If this Bill did nothing else it would have performed a great public service and a service with regard to our reputation abroad by lifting the ban in the vast number of cases.

A minor change made in the Bill which one must also welcome is the change with regard to appeals. From now on there no longer is this limit, which I can never rightly understand, of 12 months, and an appeal can now be made at any time. The Minister, in the Dáil, said that he would consider before he came to the Seanad the question put up to him of whether the Appeal Board should be required to receive submissions from publishers and writers. I should like to ask him whether he has considered this matter. It seems elementary commonsense and justice that at least in the case of the Appeal Board there should be provision before they consider an appeal that there should be a right of access to them, either in writing or in person by the people concerned, the publisher, the author or both.

The Minister in the Dáil said that, of course, it was not so much the intent of the book that mattered but the effect it might have on mature members of the public. There are a variety of matters which the censors would have to have regard to. The board is supposed to have regard to literary, scientific or historic importance and to the general tenor of the book. Those are, of course, matters on which evidence could be placed before them. While I accept that the Acts as they stand at the moment give the right to the Censorship Board of Appeal to receive representations, there is no onus on them to do so. I suspect that the book Censorship Board have never received representations. I should like some information on that. There is admittedly a difficulty in receiving representations before the book is banned, as the matter might be urgent, but once the book is banned the time element is no longer so important. We ought to try to have the principle established that the Appeal Board before they decide not to lift a ban, should be required to receive representations. I hope the Minister will consider that favourably.

I was not on the whole inclined to agree with Senator FitzGerald that much good would be done by what he suggested with regard to the definition of indecency and so on. He suggested, and I think he is right, that it could be held that the personnel of the board are more important than detailed verbiage. For example, in the early days of the Censorship Board the definitions under which they worked were wider than they are now and we know how they behaved. I think the good sense of the board is more important. Therefore, within the limitations which on the whole are inevitable, I should like to welcome this Bill and to congratulate the Minister for having brought about quite a substantial improvement.

This Bill I must say surprised me for the things it did not contain. I would have thought that any amendment of the Censorship of Publications Acts of 1946 and 1929 would have been a good deal more far-reaching than the amendments contained in this Bill. The Bill makes one change. Instead of condemning a book to hell for all eternity, it condemns it now to purgatory where it will suffer merely for a short time and then it will be reprieved. That is one change.

There is a second change which allows an appeal at any time. It is quite right, as Senator Yeats has said, that some of those books which were banned, and which should never have been banned, should be made freely available to the public in 1967. and there is no doubt about it that we have been subject to a certain amount of ridicule and contempt in the eyes of literary people because of the kind of books which are banned and which never should have been banned. Everybody is agreed on that.

Perhaps the system which was established in 1929 and which was improved on in 1946 is not, on the whole, a bad system. I recollect once upon a time a phrase used by the then Taoiseach who is now our august President when he was talking about the system of election to the Seanad which permitted one man to elect himself to Seanad Éireann. There was inquiry and investigation into corrupt practices at the time. It was very easy to buy one vote in those days; a few hundred pounds would have done it. At the end of the affair the then Taoiseach said: "It is not the system that is wrong, it is the way it is worked that is wrong." In relation to the Censorship of Publications Bill, it is not so much the system that is wrong as the way for much too long a period it was worked. It will be agreed that the system as devised is not a bad system. I have not heard anybody speaking to date, nor, indeed, have I read at any time anybody suggesting a better system than that which we have. In fact, I think the system is a good deal better than it gets credit for but I shall deal with that in a moment.

The Bill makes minor improvements. From the way public tastes and standards have changed since 1929 and 1946, there are some new matters which, in my view, should come within the scope of the Censorship of Publications code of legislation. We are all aware at present of the problems which confront the British Minister of Home Affairs and the British Government in relation to drug addiction and we see, and have read about, the moors murder and the present torture trial, the increase of sadism and things of that kind. To my mind it would be much better for us to face up to the prevention of these kinds of crimes and other things coming into our lives than try to cure them as the British Minister for Home Affairs is now very busily and anxiously doing in England. Books on violence, books on sadism, books with a completely sadistic turn dealing with gangsters and gang warfare interlaced with vices of a sexual character are being printed and distributed.

Some of the books affecting and corrupting people can be banned by the Censorship Board because there is sufficient in them relating to unnatural vice and immorality to warrant their being banned under the definition of indecency and obscenity set out in section 1 of the 1946 Act. But there is a whole range of things, as Senator Sheehy Skeffington justly and properly remarked, other than deadly sins and deadly crimes that call for greater attention. There is drug addiction, drug soirées, the increase in vice and sadism and the manner in which these things are manifesting themselves in their increase in Britain, all of which should interest the Minister for Justice and us Parliamentarians in a Bill of this kind. I believe that prevention is better than cure. While I know that we cannot legislate morality into people, at the same time, we can prevent our young people thinking that the done thing and the witty thing to do is the kind of thing one reads in some of these publications. I think an opportunity has been lost in this Bill in not dealing with these matters. I believe that very much sooner than later it will be necessary for the Minister for Justice to face up to this particular problem to which I have referred.

We all know and entirely agree that you cannot make people moral by laws but there is a great deal that can be done to prevent people from being immoral and to prevent crimes and immorality of one kind or another. There are a variety of laws which prevent people doing a variety of things which the common opinion of mankind regards as injurious to the young, the illiterate and, indeed, to the ordinary person of average intelligence and average literary ability. We have these laws to prevent people doing wrong and to punish them in the criminal courts when they do what is wrong.

There has undoubtedly been a good deal of criticism of our censorship code and the manner in which it operated by the most vocal and literate section of the community. They are the people who feel most keenly the restrictions imposed on them by the censorship code and who resent having their choice of books limited by a board of five people. It is equally true to say that that section of our community are perhaps the people best in a position to withstand the kind of things which rightly or wrongly the censorship code aims to protect people from.

Those critics of the code have been less than fair to it. It is one thing to criticise the manner in which the code has been operating at a particular time but I think it is correct to say that in the last 10 to 12 years the operation of the code has been much more satisfactory and has given rise to a great deal less criticism. Part of the criticism in recent times concerns the kind of books that should never have been banned and which remain banned. When these books become unbanned and are made available to the public we will not, I believe, have the same kind of criticism of the censorship code as we had in the recent past for the very justifiable reason that there are books not available which should be available.

If people who criticise the operation of the censorship code were as concerned about the failure to make available to the public books which have been banned, then I think much greater use would and could have been made of the system of appeals provided for in the 1946 Act. The truth of the matter is that publishers, and apparently some authors, prefer to have their books banned for the value that that gives them from the point of view of sales in other countries than, indeed, having their books made available here in this country.

(Longford): And here at home also. The Senator is quite right.

One has only to look at the manner in which the machinery provided by the censorship code has been operated. I have here some figures which have been taken from the various annual reports of the Censorship of Publications Board and the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board. It seems to me that these figures are more eloquent in defence of the system provided by our legislation than anything anybody can say about it. In 1958, 911 books were dealt with by the board, of which 487 were banned. Of these 487 only five books were appealed and of that number only one appeal was allowed. In 1959 797 books were dealt with by the board of which 402 were banned; four were appealed. One appeal was allowed and a variation order made in respect of one. In 1960, 580 books were dealt with of which 291 were banned. There were 12 appeals, of which five were allowed and two variation orders. In 1961, 631 books were dealt with, of which 408 were banned. There were only ten appeals out of the 408 and, of these, two were allowed. In 1962, 596 books were dealt with, 389 banned, in respect of which 6 appeals were taken and three of the appeals were allowed. In 1963, 687 books were dealt with by the board; 454 were banned, there were eleven appeals, of which seven were allowed, and in 1964, 537 books were dealt with by the board of which 364 were banned. Ten appeals were taken and one allowed. The number of appeals taken in a period of seven years was 58 and 18 were allowed. That does not seem to me to show great anxiety on the part of publishers or authors to make use of the machinery and it indicates that where these appeals have been taken less than one-third have been successful.

It is well to recognise, too, that on the Censorship Board, which is the board of first instance, if any two persons on the board agree that a book should be passed, it is not banned. It has not to be a unanimous decision. Therefore, it seems to me that the test is not a very severe one for books to get through. The board is manned by a judge of the Circuit Court, and the Appeal Board is manned, as required by law, by a judge of the High Court, and a judge of the Circuit Court can, likewise, be chairman of the Appeal Board. To all intents and purposes, we have in the system of an appeal board as defined by law and practically operated in relation to the censorship board itself, a system bringing to bear upon the consideration of these books a judicial approach which is mellowed, or tempered, or whatever way you like to put it, by the opinions of four other persons. It seems to me that with that kind of system there is not very much to be complained of as far as the system itself is concerned.

I am not one of these persons who care a fiddle-de-dee about a great number of the books that have been banned for the simple reason that I only wish I had sufficient time to read all the books I want to read and which have never been the subject of any banning or question of banning. At the same time, I am concerned about the rights of members of the public—that they should not be unduly interfered with in the choice of book they read. I do think that in the operation of the Act that the criteria laid down in the 1946 Act, if interpreted in a reasonable way by the board—and I am quite sure they are so interpreted —are as good as can be got. The board, when examining a book under section 6, are bound to have regard to its literary, artistic, scientific, historic merit or importance and the general tenor of the book. I think that the general tenor of the book includes whether it is likely to corrupt and deprave, the language in which it is written, the nature and extent of the circulation which in the board's opinion it is likely to have, the class of reader which may reasonably be expected to read it, and any other matter in relation to the reading of the book which appears to them to be relevant. It is interesting to observe that on this very subject of censorship of publications, the British—in 1959—not being satisfied with the criminal law as it stood and with the Obscene Publications Act of 1857, I think, enacted a new law dealing with obscene publications. It may be no harm for us to know what is going on in what some people might regard as a more liberal atmosphere than our own. Subsection (1) of the Obscene Publications Act, 1959 (British) gives the test of obscenity and, for the purposes of the British Act, this is the test:

... an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

One might say that our definition is somewhat narrower and that the British definition is somewhat broader but the plain truth of the matter is that there must be some kind of standard set by the Legislature. One can only hope, after that, that the persons appointed by the Minister for Justice from time to time will take a broad and liberal view and conscientiously exercise the obligations which devolve on them as members of the Board. A complaint that has often been made, and I think it is a valid one, is that among the members of the Censorship Board or Appeal Board—I am subject to correction on this; I have the list of members of the Appeal Board here before me—there is no one who would be outstanding in the literary world, no one of literary attainments. All of them may be people with a literary bent but, when dealing with literary works which may be the subject of an inquiry by the Censorship Board or by the Appeal Board, I think it would allay a great deal of criticism and justifiable disquiet if one of the members of the board was a person of some literary standing. I think that the Minister for Justice, if it falls to him to review the appointments of the next board, should seriously consider putting on that board a person of the type I have described. As I say I am not greatly concerned with reading these kinds of books, because I have not time to read the kind of book I want to read. However, for the purpose of this debate I made it my business to see some of the books which are sent to the Censorship Board. The only thing I regret is that I did not take a few of them with me and bring them in here and read passages from them. I very much doubt, a Cathaoirligh, if you in your capacity as Cathaoirleach and in charge of the editing of debates would permit them to remain on the record of the House. There is no doubt whatever about it that a great deal of the stuff that is banned by the Censorship of Publications Board is utter muck and I am surprised that a person of Senator Sheehy Skeffington's standing and humanity would not say to himself and to this House that it is a great pity that the money spent on producing this utter rubbish, trash and muck which can have no other effect than to deprave and to arouse the basest instincts in people——

Is there public demand for this in this country?

I shall deal with that in a moment. It would be far better if the money spent on that kind of thing were diverted to the starving people in Behar and such places. Why anybody, in the interests of liberality and freedom and liberty, should seek for a moment to defend the expenditure of money on that kind of complete and utter rubbish beats me.

The customer spends the money. We have not got money like that I would contend in this country.

I do not see any reason why—even on the most material plane—we should allow the money of this country to be expended on the importation of that kind of rubbish.

They will not be imported unless somebody wants to buy them.

Yes, but I do not see why we should facilitate people importing that kind of rubbish. If it is proper to prevent the importation of English tweeds and things like that and impose customs duties on them, things that we all require and which are useful in life, I do not see for a moment why people should spend their time defending the importing of this sort of rubbish. You get to the stage where there is something that is dubious and then to something that is of literary and artistic value and of scientific merit and so on. The question then arises as to how you should deal with that kind of thing but why anybody in the interests of a principle should try to defend the importation of that kind of rubbish and trash is beyond my comprehension. I have never read or bothered my head to find a banned book to read because I have not got the time and I am not interested in them but having looked at some of these publications and having read them, I can only say that for me, as a father of five children, I am very glad, and I am quite sure I am expressing the view of the preponderate majority of the parents of this country, that there is in existence an institution such as the Censorship of Publications Board which does not impose upon me daily the obligation of supervising the kind of things that children might otherwise be reading.

Surely that is the parents' duty.

If there was freedom to import the paperbacks and indeed the hardbacks that I have looked at in the last few days, it would be a fulltime job for fathers and mothers to supervise their children's reading.

And a hopeless job, too.

Not if there was no demand.

One can always be certain that children would always make demands upon parents to which the parents can never and ought not to accede. There is no use in saying that there will not be a demand. A lot of that utter and complete rubbish can do no good and in my view, and I am quite certain in the view of many liberally minded parents, there is no use in permitting the importation of that kind of rubbish.

Because we have the reputation of being priest-ridden and clerically dominated we are inclined to be sensitive about our censorship of publications code. I do not suffer from any such inferiority complex in relation to those matters. When one sees the crudeness, the ignorance, the vulgarity and the lack of good taste of Mr. Micky Spillane on the Late Late Show one begins to realise that there is something to be said for maintaining or seeking to maintain some kind of standards which the Censorship of Publications Acts are intended to do. Let us not be the slightest bit put about by criticisms that have been made by ourselves of ourselves and of ourselves by other people because of our Censorship of Publications Acts and the manner in which they have been operated. If one looks at the film Ulysses——

Metaphorically, or takes it as an example. We had Mr. Strick, or whatever his name is, the producer, on the Late Late Show, again lecturing the Irish people, God between us and all harm, on what was good for them, what was good morality and how he rears his children and his damned film has been banned in almost every country in the world because of the crudeness and vulgarity associated with it. We are not the only people who took a stand against the Micky Spillanes and the Mr. Stricks.

Would the Senator put James Joyce and Micky Spillane in the same category?

I am not doing anything of the kind.

You can take James Joyce and produce it in such a way as Mr. Strick has done and it will be banned from Australia to London and back again.

It has not been banned in London.

It has been banned by some authorities in England.

It has only been licensed for limited showing by the LCC.

You can take the Bible if you like and get a Mr. Strick producing it and he can make it into such an obscene and blasphemous production that it would be banned in every country as well.

It is a dangerous book.

These are the Mr. Stricks and the Micky Spillanes who are supposed to lay down the standards for observance by the Irish public. I think the Censorship of Publications Acts have within themselves if they are worked properly as I believe they have been in the last decade or so a reasonably good code for the protection of public morals in this country.

If Senator Sheehy Skeffington was interested in getting in certain books that apparently have been banned, he should avail himself of the right which five Members of the Oireachtas have of appealing to the Appeal Board to have the books unbanned. I observed from the Report of the Censorship of Publications Board and the Appeal Board that a book "Maidens Beware" by Mary Mitchell published by William Heinemann Limited, London was submitted about ten or 12 years ago by five Members of the Oireachtas. It has still not been reviewed by the Appeal Board and, as the report says, has been brought forward to 1966 because the board has been unable to deal with it by reason of inability to obtain the requisite copy. Apparently there was only one copy required under the Act and the five intrepid Members of the Oireachtas, whoever they were, burning with zeal for the literary, artistic, scientific, historic import and importance of this book were unable to produce one copy to the Appeal Board in 12 years.

It seems to me that if Members of the Oireachtas are that concerned I am sure they would be always able to write to the publishers, on Seanad Éireann notepaper with the free postage now available, and tell them to submit this book to the Censorship of Publications Board to have it reviewed and I am quite certain if that is done the publishers will willingly hazard a copy, or maybe a couple of copies, to each of these Members for submission to the Board.

Maybe the publisher would prefer to have it banned.

Maybe so, and if they do then all or a great deal of the criticism levelled against the Censorship of Publications Act is quite unwarranted because the remedy lies with the publishers, such as the publishers of "Maidens Beware", but if people have a remedy and they do not avail of it I will not hear them.

What about the author?

The author can certainly send a copy.

The publisher might want to have a book banned but the author might not.

I am sure the author is not so poor that he cannot afford to send a copy or even to send five copies to Members of the Oireachtas who are so kind as to make an appeal on his behalf. I feel there is that kind of deficiency in the Act which makes it obligatory on members of the public and Members of the Oireachtas, who have many calls on their inadequate remuneration, to say that these people have to supply copies to the board. Where five Members of the Oireachtas are sufficiently interested to put their names on an appeal the legislation should be such that the Censorship Appeal Board would be in a position to obtain the necessary copy or copies. That is a matter which might be the subject of amendment to the Bill.

Subject to these observations, I think the Bill is faltering a meagre step in the right direction but I do not think the Bill takes account of the situation in 1967—that there are new types of publications which are becoming more widespread than they were when the 1946 Act was enacted that could come within the scope of the Appeal Board and I should like it to be possible to amend the original Act with the object of bringing these within the scope of the board to see that prevention is better than cure or attempted cure.

I welcome the changes proposed in the Bill. I welcome them because they will help to make the censorship system more acceptable to those basically opposed to it and possibly less acceptable to those basically against any form of censorship. I do not think anybody can be qualified in his acceptance of censorship. I do not think anybody can really welcome censorship of books and publications, because inherently it is a thing one deplores the necessity for. In having such a system, we know it will lead from time to time to books being banned which, strictly speaking, should not be banned—books which are worthwhile and which should be available to members of the public.

However, I am basically in agreement with the necessity for censorship and consequently I welcome the Bill, which is an improvement in the position which existed up to now. I hope it will be merely one step forward in the improvement and refinement of the system. It is very easy to attack censorship by reading out a long list of names of famous authors who have been banned here in the past; and I have no hesitation at all in joining previous speakers in deploring the fact that those famous authors were banned and that members of the public in this country were unable to read these books, in so far as they were unable to read them.

It is too easy merely to look at one side of the picture and view this problem as though we were merely dealing with the fact that worthwhile writers were being banned. It is very easy to look at it from that point of view and ignore the fact that many hundreds of obnoxious books were also banned, that hundreds and hundreds of books without any merit and from which nobody in the country could possibly benefit were banned and that people were removed from the opportunity of reading those books. There can be no doubt that there is a vast quantity of pornographic literature available which would undoubtedly be sent into the country if the censorship laws were lifted. These books are vicious trash without any merit and the fact that the censorship laws keep these out is something of which we should be very glad. Senator Sheehy Skeffington asked the last speaker whether there was a demand for these books, the implication being that if there was a demand they should be let in.

Or else there is something wrong with our education.

Possibly. Of course, there is also a demand, loud or otherwise, for various kinds of drugs and I do not think Senator Sheehy Skeffington should use that as a test as to whether we should allow in these drugs. Is the test merely to be that if people want drugs they should have them? That seems to be the kind of test he would impose in regard to literature. The fact that there may be a demand for pornography is not a good reason for allowing it into the country. I am quite sure that if we accepted the advice that has been given or suggested by some of the speakers, that if the Minister introduced a Bill abolishing censorship as at present administered, in a very short time public opinion would demand the imposition of some new form of censorship.

That being so, I think we should consider what kind of censorship we would be likely to get if we abolish the present one. Are we going to leave it to customs officials? I do not think that, all things considered, that would be a better way of dealing with it, or that customs officials as such would be more liberal and more broadminded in deciding what should be allowed in and what should not. Are we to leave it to the courts to consider every book brought into the country? This would be quite impossible because the numbers of this kind of book which are available would completely flood out the courts and they would have to spend a great deal of their time doing this work.

I think that the present system, although it is certainly capable of improvement and should continually be watched and continually considered from the point of view of improving the machinery and the way it operates, is the best way of dealing with this problem, and the fact that it has in the past been somewhat crude in dealing with the problem, and that it has made some serious mistakes and a number of not so serious mistakes is not a sufficient argument for abolishing the system and trying out some other one.

As I have said, with the present changes it is possible to introduce some more, and in regard to the position of the Appeal Board it seems to me that a publisher or author who appeals to the Appeal Board should have an opportunity of appearing before the board and making his case as to why the book should not be banned. It was suggested in the other House that there should be an appeal from the present Censorship Board to the court, but I think that that is not necessary and that much the same effect can be produced if a person appealing to the Appeal Board is allowed, if he wants to do so, to appear before the board and state his case. In view of the fact that the chairman of the Appeal Board is a High Court judge and that the proposal was to go to the High Court where in any event the hearing would be in camera it seems that, having heard your appeal before the Appeal Board and having an opportunity of stating your case before them, enables much the same purpose to be served. I hope to put down an amendment to achieve that effect.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington did mention the other deadly sins, and suggested that the Minister might try to widen the scope of the censorship system to take these in. He was asking the Minister to do too much in asking him to do that.

I do think that censorship in this country in regard to books and even more so in regard to films, concentrates too much on the question of sex and too little on the problem of sadism. There is a great deal of sadistic material portrayed in books and films which it should be possible for the censorship machinery to deal with. Senator Sheehy Skeffington is right to some extent in saying that we are inclined to think that there is only one sin in this country, and to the extent that you have books and films portraying the most sadistic scenes and encouraging youth in particular, and adults also, to regard fighting, injuring and killing people in the most vicious and determined way as something that is all good clean fun is something that needs careful consideration and some kind of action if possible.

In regard to the question of censorship we are inclined to be a little bit broadminded and liberal in theory when we talk about it in an academic way, when we talk about it in the context of saying that it is a terrible thing that George Bernard Shaw or Joyce and so on have been banned. But when we come up against some of the trash that is available and read it or hear it read, then I think everybody begins to have second thoughts about this problem. I remember hearing some time ago about a debate in Trinity College in which the question of censorship was being debated. There were three or four very good speakers who were there to condemn censorship and who made splendid speeches in which they really went down to dealing with the inequities of censorship. This was some considerable time ago. There was only one speaker who was willing to act as devil's advocate and defend censorship. When his time came he merely took a book out of his pocket, one of those pornographic novels and started to read one of the more lurid passages in it. He went on reading, and people began to move their feet around, to cough and shuffle, and the people on the platform became rather embarrassed. Finally, the chairman of the debate told the speaker that he could not allow him to go on any longer, and the speaker said: "We all appear to support censorship". I think that his point was well made. We are all in favour of these books if we are taking a liberal view—what harm will it do? But when you read them and hear them read and come really into contact with them there is something so vicious and obnoxious that it is inevitable that we should have some sort of limiting to the extent to which this kind of books are allowed to come into the country. It is only limiting them, because no matter what kind of system of laws we have some of these books will come in and circulate, and what we are merely attempting to do is to try to cut down as far as possible the extent to which they are available. I think that certainly this is not a subject for radical reform or for introducing measures to completely abolish censorship. It is a subject which is being dealt with reasonably satisfactorily under the present system. I am very glad that in this Bill there have been some improvements in the system, and I hope that there will be at least one other improvement, and that as time goes on we will have censorship by all means but censorship in a more sophisticated form.

Might I inquire how it is planned to continue the debate if we adjourn at this stage?

The House has ruled that No. 7 is to be taken on the resumption at 7.30. Would the Seanad agree to make an order as to when the discussion will be resumed on this Bill?

Tomorrow morning.

With all due respect, that would be very inconvenient for some of us.

Surely there is no suggestion that we should sit tomorrow.

I am in the hands of the Senators.

There are complaints that we cannot do business and that motions are waiting to be discussed. Here is a motion that we should meet tomorrow and get an opportunity of doing business.

It is like the proposal that came to the girl who was courted for 14 years. It is so sudden that we are taken by surprise.

Maybe I should be like the Israelites.

What is the wish of the House?

On a point of order, I think the Leader of the House deserves support on this and we should come back tomorrow morning.

Could we have an undertaking from the Leader of the House when we shall have those motions? We got a promise before but it came to nothing.

We are to take a motion at 7.30 which I hope will finish tonight.

We will resume tomorrow morning on the Bill.

That would be very unsuitable for many people who have planned on the basis that there will be no sitting tomorrow. We will adjourn it until next Wednesday.

Debate adjourned.
Business suspended at 6.5 p.m. and resumed at 7.30 p.m.