Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 28 Oct 1992

Vol. 424 No. 5

Censorship of Films (Amendment) Bill, 1992 [ Seanad ]: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I would first like to welcome the Bill and say that I am glad to have the opportunity to address the House on this issue.

It could well be said that we are becoming a video-watching society and that a video culture is developing throughout our society. The popularity of videos is not confined to any one section of our community — it is not confined to our young people or to our unemployed — but goes right across the board.

The way in which the distribution of videos has been allowed to develop without any order and without prohibitions has led to the problems now being experienced in the whole video industry and especially in the proliferation of violent videos.

In general, I welcome the provisions of the Bill. However, I am disappointed that the Bill fails to give protection to young children, especially in the purchase or rental of videos. The 1989 legislation on video recordings failed to give that protection and that failure is not remedied by the present Bill. There is nothing to stop a child from going into a video shop and purchasing or renting a video of his or her choice. That is a failure of the Bill. No penalty is imposed on those who serve young children. This Bill should have made it an offence to sell or rent videos to young children and it should have provided for the imposition of fines on the owners or employees of video outlets who commit that offence. I understand that the Fine Gael spokesman in this area, Deputy Cotter, has already referred to that aspect.

The provision for the licensing of wholesale and retail video outlets is certainly welcome. The development is not before its time. The widespread sale and distribution of videos from unauthorised outlets has been a major problem. It is to be hoped that the Bill will ensure that video outlets will now be controlled and be subject to regulation.

People operating video outlets will also have to be responsible. They will have to comply with regulations. That is another positive measure. To a certain extent those people can control the kind of videos being made available to the public at large.

The Bill also enables the Film Censor to prohibit the supply of video films that he considers unsuitable for viewing. This is a very important step. Ireland generally has a good censorship record in the sense that we are not overcensored. Many of the videos now freely available do need to be censored, however, which is, as the Minister has explained, one of the primary purposes of the Bill.

One of the most important provisions is that concerning the classification of video films in terms of suitability for viewing by different age groups. In this regard the appointment of assistant censors is vital. A major commitment in personnel will be required merely to review the existing videos in the country, of which there is a bank of 13,000 to 15,000. I understand that about 700 new titles come on stream every year. To examine all of those films will require a major commitment in personnel, which makes the services of assistant censors important. Questions have been raised in relation to the way in which the assistant censors will be appointed. That is another matter. The important issue is that assistant censors are appointed and that the appointees have expertise.

When in operation the classification will provide parents with a means to monitor what their children watch, as videos, I understand from this legislation, will be clearly labelled as to their suitability for viewing by younger age groups and so on. However, this puts the onus on parents because, as stated by the Minister, the law cannot interfere with what goes on in the privacy of a family home. Are parents sufficiently responsible to decide what is right for viewing by their youngsters? For example, in a case where both parents are working can they control what goes on in their home? In the case of large families where some children may be viewing videos in one room and where some other activity is taking place in a different room, can parents control what is happening? A major emphasis is put on the role of a family, which must be questioned.

Also there is a trend nowadays for people to leave home at a young age either to go to school or to go into digs. In those instances there is no one to decide what is suitable for viewing. The video culture has taken off since the early eighties. Almost 1,000 new titles are introduced each year. It is important to point out that most of these videos are not objectionable. In fact, they can be of educational and recreational value. Videos are very important in that they provide safety valves for society. Most unemployed people have no recreational facilities, no gymnasium, and were it not for videos would have nothing to occupy their time. The whole video culture has advantages but videos are becoming so much part of the life of ordinary people that monitoring is important. Up to now there was little or no control.

A number of objectionable videos have become available recently. These have been referred to as video nasties but I feel they should be referred to as vicious videos. That would describe them more accurately and appropriately. Most of these videos are directed at violence and pornography and, as many previous speakers have said, they downgrade women and young children especially, who are treated as objects in the videos. I agree totally with previous speakers who said they had led to violence being directed at both women and young children. They have created the impression that violence in certain forms is acceptable, and that society, by making these videos available, is giving tacit acceptance to the form of behaviour portrayed in these videos.

Nowadays we are all very impressed by the visual media. It could be said that the American Presidential election will be won on television. When we see the influence videos have on young people it is easy to understand the fears expressed by people concerning the transfer from video nasties or, vicious videos, to real life. That is why it is important that we as legislators do something to control what is happening, and I thank the Minister for making some effort in this regard.

This matter is not just a problem for young people. Crime is also perpetrated by the older generation in our society. When one watches some of the serial murderers throughout the world one finds they are mostly older people, all of whom have been influenced by different events in their lives but, no doubt, the influence of videos must also be taken into consideration. A statistic recently showed that on average each young person views television or videos about three hours a day, mostly in the evening time. That is an alarming statistic. That is why we have a very unfit generation of young people, but it also leads to more crime, especially violent crime. I hope this Bill will do something to control this trend.

Both the Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Rourke, and I have said time and again that young people must be educated in life skills. At present there are very few life skill programmes in our schools principally because of the race for points and because of exam pressures. Both young people and parents must be educated in how to cope with the visual material being thrown at them at present. Newman said many years ago that an educated person is a person who can detect what is sophistical. It is important that our young people are able to detect what is sophistical. It is important that our education system produces people who can make mature decisions for themselves. The conclusions reached on the contents of a video are personal decisions.

I welcome the attempts being made in this Bill to do something about the uncontrolled manner in which our video industry has been allowed to develop. I am disappointed that it does not give the protection to children that we on this side of the House would have desired but I welcome it as a step in the right direction.

I welcome the legislation so far as it goes. Without doubt it was necessary. This was found to be the case following the enactment of the last item of legislation relating to videos. Its desirability is self-explanatory in that it is generally accepted, belatedly, that videos, whether we like it or not, do have an influence of one kind or another on very young or impressionable people. That goes without saying. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. I believe people should as far as is possible, be able to make up their minds as to what is good for them.

It is alleged that outside an electrical dealer's shop in the main street of a certain town in the midlands on a specific afternoon for the past five years, more people congregated to watch a certain video in the shop window than would be seen at most football matches. That indicates there was a certain type of material that appealed to a particular sector of the population. While watching these videos may stop people becoming involved in certain types of crime, in the final analysis certain types of videos can have an adverse influence on people.

Previous speakers have referred to the benefits of videos and we all accept that they can be beneficial from an educational point of view. However, there is a downside to them in that much of the street crime that is reported daily can be attributed to some of the undesirable videos that are readily available here. I do not have to explain to the Minister of State, Deputy O'Rourke, the type of street crime I am referring to. Generally it involves mugging. rape and handbag snatching, the types of crimes that are re-enacted and glorified in these videos. They are not petty crimes, they are serious crimes.

In conjunction with this Bill we are debating which is acceptable, desirable and progressive, the Minister should introduce legislation to crack down on the crime that is prevalent in our society at present. There is no point introducing legislation at this eleventh hour to deal with what I regard as the source of the problem, namely, video nasties, without also addressing the problem of the adverse influence of these videos. There is obviously a problem or the Minister would not be introducing the legislation in the first place. I commend the Minister for taking this action but I must point out that there exists in the minds of many people in our society a real fear, with particular reference to women. Women are in constant fear driving across this city by day or by night. A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a handbag snatch at traffic lights in this city. The inspiration for this type of crime came from videos. I am not saying that they are the only cause but the people who carry out these crimes get their inspiration from certain types of video. This crime I witnessed took place while at least 20 people stood idly by and did nothing. Two women in a car were terrorised by a thug who grabbed one of their handbags and ran off towards a well known locality.

The sad feature of this crime is that it happened in broad daylight. Similar crimes occur every day and, I am sure, every night. When I talk about videos, I am referring to video nasties, not the general videos to which I have no objection. I am referring to the type of crime that is glamorised on certain videos. Once upon a time the main character in films was a hero. Nowadays, it seems that the nastier the gurrier and the more serious the crime which is perpetrated against an innocent victim on some of these videos the more the criminal is glorified. It is a sad reflection on society.

I am not a prude. We should have a liberal attitude to this but there comes a time when we must say stop. We must recognise this problem for what it is. It is a good industry for the people who produce these videos but they are of no benefit to society. For that reason I commend the Minister on the introduction of this legislation.

The classification of videos as a means of enabling parents to identify what is and is not suitable for their children is useful and welcome. However, I do not believe it can be enforced because of a lack of parental control. That is one of the criticisms of modern society. How can we expect parents to supervise their children's viewing? They would either have to ensure that the children only view certain material by staying in to monitor this or give in to them and allow them watch what they want. How does society determine that only children of a certain age group are permitted to avail of certain material? There is no way this can be done and I do not believe legislation can enforce this. That is a serious flaw in this whole procedure.

There are those who may say that my remarks are extremely conservative, outdated and, to coin a modern phrase, square. I was young once.

The Deputy is still young. If the Deputy is not young, God help the rest of us.

The point at issue is who is the greatest beneficiary of a liberalisation of legislation governing videos? Ultimately, the lowest will become the common denominator, a small group of seedy individuals who produce highly questionable material. I do not believe society should allow these people to promote their wares to a greater extent than they do. They are well capable of doing that.

I applaud some of the proposals in this Bill. However, it has limitations and certain flaws. The classification of videos is a great idea but I do not believe it will work. The Minister, together with this Bill, should introduce legislation to address the problem of street crime which, I believe, is inspired by the videos this legislation seeks to control.

In some of those videos the victims are portrayed as people who are cheap, are easy prey for every thug and thief and it is the perpetrator of the crimes who is glorified. He is portrayed as a macho, tough and callous individual. There is no compassion or sympathy for the underdog in the video world.

I wish to make two final points and I do so with sadness in relation to what I regard as the by-product of video nasties, street crime. Very often, politicians make excuses for people who engage in street crime. At a public meeting I attended lately at least three elected politicians made excuses for the perpetrators of street crime on the basis that these people were socially deprived. That is no excuse. Those who commit the types of crime I am referring to do not necessarily come from socially deprived backgrounds or areas. In any event that is not an excuse.

Modern technology has made it possible for virtually everyone to view films, mainly via satellite dishes and so on. The Minister will need to examine this system shortly because some of the material available on satellite channels is highly questionable, is unlikely in any way to improve the quality of life of the people who view it and is equally unlikely to improve the quality of life of the people who have to live with them.

I welcome this legislation in general terms. It progresses the provisions in the Video Recordings Act to a certain extent. I am sure the Minister is aware of the serious implications, particularly for young people, if the legislation and criteria governing the sale and rental of videos are not tightened up by the Government. It is important that those involved in the video business, both retailers and wholesalers, clearly understand that they must adhere strictly to the criteria governing the issuing of licences. The Minister referred to licence costs in his speech.

It is equally important to remember that within five years up to 100 satellite television channels will be beaming all kinds of material onto our television screens. Many of these programmes will be in a foreign language and many will be perfectly normal, but a certain amount of the material will be grossly unsuitable for young people. Even though the material shown on any television channel can be videod, this Bill does not really address this issue. It is important in an era of mass communications that this issue be addressed to whatever extent possible. I am not sure how one could attempt to censor material which has a detrimental effect on young people when over 100 television channels can be beamed into a small country like Ireland.

I welcome the decision to classify videos — for example, videos which can be viewed by persons generally, videos which can be viewed by children under 12 years of age in the presence of an adult, videos which can be viewed by persons of 15 years of age and over and videos which can be viewed by people of 18 years and over. Obviously this grading is very important in terms of parental control and the kind of material young people are exposed to.

The Bill does not deal with the sale of videos on the black market. Information which has become available indicates that certain terrorist organisations have become involved to a great extent in the production and sale of pornographic videos and video nasties. This is a matter for another area of the Department of Justice in terms of border controls and the general wellbeing of the community. Apparently this black market business is very lucrative for terrorist organisations. One cannot really understand the consequences for young people who are repeatedly exposed to video nasties which show extreme violence and contain complete objectionable references to sex, etc. It is very important that the Department of Justice and people generally are aware of the increased involvement in this lucrative area of the black market by those involved in racketeering, crime and terrorist activities.

I hope the Minister will ensure that the people appointed as assistant censors have a genuine interest in being appointed to the board and that they have a clear understanding of the classifications referred to by the Minister in his speech. Obviously a considerable amount of time will be required to view the several thousand new videos which come on the market every year. The vast majority of videos are harmless and their story lines are clearly displayed. However, it is important in cases where problems arise that these people clearly understand the requirements of the Bill in terms of classification.

New advances in video recorders are taking place all the time. For example, some video recorders can be preprogrammed a fortnight or three weeks in advance while others can record split programmes. If one records a programme which is three hours long one has to have three hours to spare to watch it.

It is difficult to catch up with them all.

When one arrives back from constituency meetings at 2 a.m. one can be held up for a further two hours watching a recorded programme. Therefore, the assistant censors will have to devote a considerable amount of time to watching and classifying the 1,000 new video recordings which come on the market every year.

As I said, I welcome the Bill in general terms. It should be borne in mind that a child is entitled to go into a video shop and either buy or rent an adult video. I am sure the Minister will refer to the requirement for continuing parental observations of the material contained in videos. Video outlets are open quite late at night and at present many people, who should not be allowed to do so, can rent adult videos. It is well known that while the material on display in some video outlets may be completely inoffensive and perfectly watchable, there are other shelves, which are not seen by the public, where the video nasties and hard pornographic videos are kept. Obviously this is not the case in all video outlets, but it happens in some. There should be constant monitoring of the material available in all video outlets. I hope that the practical implementation of the provisions in the Bill will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the Minister.

My contribution will be brief. I commend the Minister on his initiative in addressing this problem which has been a source of concern for many parents. The arrival of videos on our market led to the development of a dirty trade. The expression "dirty trade" does not adequately describe it. A very lucrative dirty trade has been going on for many years. Many cowboy operators from the twilight zone of the Border where I live have made a lot of money from importing pornographic videos which have been freely on sale in outlets in every county.

Various Deputies have referred to the current level of crime. In the past 20 years the crime rate has become totally unacceptable. There is no single reason for the growth in crime. Unemployment has a certain amount to do with it, allied to the appearance in society of the liberals and the people who believe that everything can be rationalised. Unfortunately there is a criminal class. In Dublin the level of crime is on a par with any city in Europe. Many would-be tourists are deterred from coming here. Crimes against tourists have been well chronicled in the newspapers in recent years, including the tragic death of an English tourist in O'Connell Street, almost in broad daylight. There have been many cases of tourists whose cars and handbags have been stolen and the incidence of such crimes has reached a totally unacceptable level. There is a belief in certain quarters that it pays to engage in crime.

One of the reasons for the rise in crime is society's liberal attitude to the perpetration of crime. There is always somebody from the bleeding heart brigade to say that the accused was illtreated as a child, that his mother let him fall on his head or some other ridiculous excuse. It is the absence of deterrents that has brought us to this. Murder is now commonplace. The tragic events in the North are met with a kind of acceptance by society here in that they are no longer a nine day wonder. We read lurid reports in the newspapers every day of grotesque murders committed in this State. The incidence of rape is frightening. The fact that 31 cases are currently before the Central Criminal Court indicates that this type of crime is not being controlled. I am not blaming the Minister, who inherited the problem. Irrespective of the Government in office, there is no punishment to fit the crime. In the case of rape, a frightful and traumatic crime, I have my own particular remedy. I would refer the Minister to the system of chemical castration employed in the southern states of America. That would solve the problem for the person involved and would make society a lot safer, especially in the case of a persistent sexual offender. Most sexual deviants or criminals are recidivists. They do not get the message.

Has Deputy McGahon the capacity to relate this to videos?

Yes. Videos, particularly dirty videos, have an inflammatory effect on young people and some old people, too. I am not referring to you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

The Deputy's own conscience is at him, I detect.

Pornographic videos should be totally banned and burned when detected by the police. I accept that there is always somebody who will sell whiskey to the Indians. People who deal in dirty videos should receive no mercy from the courts.

Much of the trade in videos, particularly pornographic videos, involves paramilitary organisations. It is a well known means of fund raising for the IRA and the UDA in the North. These people are totally involved and I would ask the Minister to pay particular attention to that area.

I accept that there are responsible people in the video trade. Regarding the proposal to issue a licence to people trading in videos, how does the Minister propose to monitor the operation of the system? We probably have more legislation on the Statute Book than most other countries. We are very good at introducing legislation but not too good at monitoring it. Will there be constant surveillance and will a unit of the Garda Síochána be involved in monitoring?

I commend the Minister's initiative in introducing this Bill and I hope it will be a step towards the curtailment of what is a very dirty trade.

Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a chur in iúl do na Teachtaí a thóg páirt sa díospóireacht maidir leis an mBílle seo.

Deputies deserve to be congratulated on their contributions to this debate. The Bill is simply to enable the provisions of the Video Recordings Act, 1989, to be brought fully into operation. There is general agreement that the video market needs to be adequately controlled to prevent the circulation of violent or pornographic material. All the necessary controls were provided for in the 1989 Act. We are providing the necessary resources to the Censor's office so that the last link in the chain of controls provided for in the 1989 Act can be brought into operation. That means simply the examination, classification or prohibition of all new video films intended for release and the systematic examination of approximately 12,000 videos currently in the market to see if they are suitable.

I thank Deputy Cotter for his well thought-out and constructive contribution. He raised a point, which was echoed by Deputy Kenny, regarding the black market. The Deputy is quite right. There is quite a sizeable business distributing, manufacturing and controlling the use of pornographic videos in the country. It accounts for a lot of money. Deputy Cotter put a figure on it — I will not say yes or no to that except to say that it is big business and it needs to be controlled.

The implementation of the provisions of the 1989 Act requiring the certification and labelling of all new videos will make a black market in videos more difficult to operate. I do not think I can go any further than that at this time. It will certainly help the Garda to identify illegal videos.

Deputy Cotter commented at some length on the question of children buying these adult videos. Deputy Deenihan also mentioned it. In that regard the 1989 Act aims to control the situation by providing for the labelling of videos as to their suitability for young persons. This provides guidance to parents. However, putting a legal responsibility on retailers would create enforcement problems. We are all aware of these in the intoxicating liquor trade. In the case of videos the problem would be even more difficult. Instead of one there would be three age groups to deal with — 12, 15 and 18 year olds. It would be asking a lot to oblige a retailer to establish the age of a young person with that degree of accuracy and, anyway, would the imposition of such a responsibility on the retailer have any real practical effect? For example, if an 18 year old or somebody who is over 18 years of age rents a video, is it not then available to his six year old friend or his brother or his sister? That is the difficulty. Deputy Cotter is quite right when he says that that kind of control can only be exercised by parents who know where their children are, what they are viewing and with whom they are viewing it. That is the reason the 1989 Act was passed in the way it was.

Deputy Cotter questioned the position of the assistant censors. That was also echoed by Deputy Pattison. In effect, the qualifications that would be required for assistant censors could be summarised as follows. There are no special academic or technical qualifications required for the position of assistant censor. What is required here is somebody who has a practical common-sense attitude, possibly with some interest in films or videos; and the person would need to be nonprejudicial in order to perform the task objectively. This is the kind of person who has been appointed in the past to perform censorship work and it has always worked out very satisfactorily. Such people included parents, teachers, those who are involved with the young and those who have a good deal of common-sense and understand modern day situations.

The Question of appointing women was raised by Deputy Barnes. I would like to assure her that it would be my intention to ensure that women are adequately represented. It would be only reasonable that in circumstances where we are dealing with children's viewing of films women and mothers would be involved as well. I will take on board what the Deputy has said in this regard.

Deputy Pattison raised the question of banning some books and films on rather doubtful grounds. This, in hindsight, might very well be the case. However, I would ask him to accept that society changes and moral standards change too and I believe that the existing Censorship Board and the Film Censor examine books and films by reference to what present day society finds acceptable. That is really the yardstick that one has to apply in this case. The assistant censors, together with the Censor, are living in the modern world. They will recognise what is tolerable and acceptable today and we would expect them to apply that criteria to their decision making.

Deputy Pattison requested that the video nasties should be tackled at source. That was also stated by Deputy McGahon. It is a good point, because it involves the whole question of seizures by the Garda. What Deputy McGahon said is quite true. A lot of business, if one could call it that, has been undertaken by certain groups in this matter in this country over the past few years. There are factories producing filth. I would rather the Deputies did not press me to give details, but the Garda have made quite substantial seizures in different parts of the country — in Deputy McGahon's part of the country in particular and further south — involving millions of pounds worth of equipment and videos. I am not at liberty today to give any great details except to say that it is a constant concern of the Garda to keep on top of this. It is regrettable that the money from this business goes into a certain area of operation that we would wish to stop finally by law. We hope that we will make further progress in that regard, that there will be further seizures and that we can stamp it out once and for all. The Garda have committed a lot of effort and resources in this area of activity, over the past six months particularly.

Deputy Gilmore asked why legislation was needed to appoint assistant censors and why they should be appointed by the Minister. The simple answer to that is that the assistant censors will be exercising statutory functions that can only be conferred on them by statute. The reason they must be appointed by the Minister has nothing at all to do with party politics. They will be exercising statutory powers on a par with those exercised by the Censor. It is appropriate therefore, that, just like the Censor, they would be appointed by the Minister.

There was a desire for a comprehensive Bill. Deputy Pattison made some comment on that. It was a reasonable point to make and it is probably a good idea. I just have to say by way of explanation that I do not have the resources at the moment. We have an enormous book of legislative proposals that have to be brought forward. We will be very busy in that regard and there are some criminal matters that need to be attended to as well. For that reason I do not have the resources at the moment to deal with the Deputy's request. However, it is something that can be taken up at a later date when I would like to be able to pursue it.

Deputy Gilmore was anxious about emphasis being placed on violent as opposed to erotic videos. In the Video Recordings Act the criteria by which videos may be prohibited include incitement to commit crime or the stirring up of racial hatred as well as the matter of sexual pornography. We are providing for a refund of fees in so far as successful appeals are concerned because that has always been done in regard to films. We are really bringing videos into line with current practices relating to films.

Deputy Barnes raised an interesting point. She spoke about the need to have new definitions in relation to pornography. Most people do not wish to see grossly offensive, violent or indecent films on public view. That is a fact and it is well that we should say it here collectively today. That is the reason I am so pleased that the Bill is getting the unaminous support of the House. I think everybody would be happy to have films vetted by the official Censor by reference to the criteria set out in section 7 (2) of the 1923 Act and in the video Recordings Act. I accept that those criteria are broad in definition, but this is unavoidable.

What constitutes the norms of public decency or public morality is difficult to define in exact legal terms and obviously these change from time to time. The factual position is however that over the years censors, through the interpretation of the existing provision in the light of prevailing public opinion, have been able to set standards of censorship which are to a great extent acceptable. This is evidenced by the small number of appeals against decisions of the Film Censor in relation to the number of films submitted. For example, in the period 1980 to 1991, 4,378 films have been submitted to the censor. Only 32 of his decisions on those films have been appealed. I would hope for the same kind of percentage so far as the new assistant censors are concerned. This will be uppermost in my mind when I come to appoint them, that they will deal with these videos expeditiously and in a proper way.

Deputy Finucane asked if licences could be withheld from dealers who sell pornographic videos. It is an offence to supply a video recording containing a video work in respect of which a prohibition order has been made. The 1989 Act already provides that the censor shall not grant a licence to a person in respect of a period for which he is disqualified from holding a licence. Persons are disqualified by the court from holding a licence for five years if convicted of two or more offences under the Act.

Deputies Kenny, Durkan and Finucane referred to the problems encountered in relation to satellite television programmes. Deputy Cotter mentioned that it is very difficult to control these matters and made the point that parents have a huge responsibility in supervising their children in the home.

By way of explanation in this matter an EC directive on broadcasting activities came into force on 3 October 1991. Briefly, this directive sets minimum criteria for broadcasting in each member state and imposes some obligations on broadcasters. While a member state cannot restrict the retransmission or reception of broadcasts which comply with the terms of the directive and originate in another member state a number of provisions are incorporated into the directive to safeguard the physical, mental and moral development of minors.

Article 22 of the directive refers to this matter specifically. It states:

Member states shall take appropriate measures to ensure that television broadcasts by broadcasters under their jurisdiction do not include programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, in particular, those that involve pronography or gratuitious violence. This provision shall extend to other programmes which are likely to impair the physical, mental and moral development of minors except where it is ensured, by selecting the time of the broadcast or by technical measure, that minors in the area of transmission will not normally hear or see such broadcasts. Member states shall also ensure that broadcasts do not contain any incitement to hatred, on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality.

The relevant provisions of the directive have been transposed into Irish law under the Broadcasting Act, 1990. These were supplemented by two sets of regulations which became operative with effect from 3 October 1991.

Deputy Durkan also raised the question of the role of videos in inciting certain types of crime. I should say to him that section 3 (1) (a) of the Video Recordings Act, 1989 recognises this danger and enables the Censor to prohibit videos which may incite persons to commit crimes.

Deputy McGahon touched on a matter about which I am particularly concerned at this time, that is, the activities of certain individuals and groups who are pursuing this matter in an organised, commercial way close to the Border. This involves the illegal importation and copying of tapes in factory units in a professional way for sale on the black market. It is our intention to try to put those operators out of business. I am sure the House will support the Garda in their attempts to do this.

Deputy Cotter carried out much research for his contribution and spoke about the effect video nasties have on adults as well as children. He also mentioned that parents have a huge responsibility in these mattes and in making sure that they know what their child is doing at any given time.

I have tried to respond to most of the questions raised by Deputies. They will have an opportunity on Committee Stage to go into these matters in more detail, if they so wish. While I look forward to that debate I should say that the response we have received on Second Stage has been encouraging. I thank the Deputies for their contributions.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Next Tuesday, subject to agreement between the Whips.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 3 November 1992.