Senior officers said the dolls — which are child-like in appearance, weight, and anatomy — appear to be criminalised under child pornography laws.
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The silicone dolls, made in the Far East, typically weigh around 25kg (around the weight of an eight-year-old child) and cost thousands of euro to buy online.
Cari (Children at Risk Ireland), which provides therapy and support for children affected by child abuse, said the dolls indicate “a criminal interest in children” and that it was important gardaí were assured the laws were “sufficiently robust” to deal with it.
On the issue of people meeting through the internet or social media, many use apps such as Tinder.
About 16% of respondents said they had met someone through a mobile dating service.
The findings are among the results of a survey of more than 600 students around the country conducted on behalf of University College Cork student magazine Motley.
The survey also found that: - More than 7% of respondents said they had never used contraception; - 14% said they had had a threesome; - 10% said they had not had sex in a year; - 14% had had sex with someone they met through the internet and two thirds said it had been a negative experience; - More than 70% had sent a “sext”; - 14% said they had webcam sex at least once; - 22% said they had cheated on their partner; - Almost 11% said they had had between 11 and 20 sexual partners; - 10% said they had contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI); - 90% said they had had unprotected oral sex.
“It does seem to fall within child pornography laws.” Section 2.1 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998, amended by the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 2017, states that child pornography includes “any visual representation whose dominant characteristic is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of the genital or anal region of a child”.
Chief Supt Daly said while visual representation has tended to refer to pictures and the like, the legislation was “reasonably broad” and seemed to include “3D visual representations” such as a plastic child sex doll.
Chief Supt Daly said gardaí started checking the law here when the case broke.
“Our legislation appears to be wide enough,” he said.
While Ireland's pro-marriage equality campaign is leading in the polls, the gap has narrowed ahead of Friday's vote.