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Manwin to open an office in Dublin. Photo by: Getty

Pat Rabbitte to discuss effects of Internet porn on Irish youth with government

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Manwin to open an office in Dublin. Photo by: Getty

Irish Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has announced his support for a potential ‘family friendly’ filter that would block access to pornography online for under 18s.

According to the Irish Independent, Rabbitte said he would be ‘quite happy’ to consider the topic of filtering access to porn among Irish youths after listening to comments made by Senator Mary O'Brien condemning what she called the ‘gross’ nature of what's now available online.

O'Brien explained: ‘I never thought I would stand up in the Irish Seanad and feel nostalgic for Hustler, Penthouse or Playboy but we must now admit that we must think of them as part of the good old days,’ she said.

O'Brien claimed the effect of internet porn on children was devastating. ‘They think these gross scenes are normal,’ she said.

In response Rabbitte said: ‘I would be quite happy to take up this point about examining whether the initiative announced by David Cameron has merit and can be made to work.’

Rabbitte was referring to an initiative announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron this week that would introduce new rules to block online porn unless specially requested by a household. Cameron’s suggestion was met with uproar, consternation and ridicule when announced in the House of Commons on Monday.

Critics immediately claimed such a move would do little to clean up content on the Internet but was certain to infuriate everyday Internet users who could find themselves blocked from thousands of perfectly safe websites by overly censorious filters.

Aware of the pitfalls involved Rabbitte said, ‘The e-commerce directive makes it illegal to compel ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block material in the fashion that Senator O Brien raises.

‘A reasonable and important point and is the first time she’s raised it - nobody in the Senate has ever raised this point with me before.

‘We shouldn’t conflate two things. Obnoxious material is already illegal in Ireland (but not in UK) thereafter you are talking about this voluntary code that he will require these family friendly filters to be put in place.

‘Most experts will say that text savvy young people will be savvy enough to access but they may well have the merits of young people not stumbling across the kind of material that no parent would want them to see.’

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