Varadkar says Ireland will study UK's 'porn block' restrictions to see if they're viable here 1 month ago

Varadkar says Ireland will study UK's 'porn block' restrictions to see if they're viable here

Changes on the horizon?

In the wake of the ruling from the Ana Kriegel trial on Tuesday, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has asked the government to investigate introducing a similar system to the UK's new 'porn block' age restrictions.

Citing the trial which concluded on Tuesday in the Central Criminal Court, Howlin asked the government could a similar system to the UK be introduced in Ireland.

The UK 'porn block' is coming into effect on July 15 meaning all UK-based internet users will have to confirm that they are 18 or older if they want to access adult entertainment sites.

To do so users over 18 will need to provide proof that they are old enough to access age restricted sites. The verification can be done online or in a shop where a pass can be purchased that confirms the holder is aged 18 or over.

Responding in the Dáil to Howlin's question, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the law is new in the UK and will take some time to examine the effects of it.

"It’s designed to prevent minors from accessing pornograhy online and it is a matter of concern to all of us that pornography is so accessible to young people and indeed so many young people learn about sex through pornography which is not an accurate representation of what is healthy in life," Varadkar said.

"I agree with you that we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past by engaging in censorship or moralising or deciding for other people what they should do and what they should watch. The UK law is relatively new, we don’t know yet if it has been effective.

"I think the suggestion you make is a very good one that at the end of the year or after a year or so of its implementation that Minister Flanagan makes contact with his counterpart to seek advice and report from them on whether it’s been effective and if there’s been unintended consequences and it’s a good thing that we learn from other jurisdictions."

He also said the government will be bringing forward an online safety bill in the coming weeks which will include an online safety code which will prohibit the cyber bullying of minors, and monitor harmful materials that promote suicide, self-harm and anorexia.

It will also create an Online Safety Commissioner who will have the power to order content be taken down under certain circumstances.