State takes action against the Irish Family Planning Association for the illegal sale of condoms at the Virgin Megastore in Dublin.

The Family Planning Association has been selling condoms at the Virgin Megastore for the past year and a half. The action against them relates to the sale of a condom on 10 January. The case was dismissed from court as the application was not served in the six month statutory period allowed for such summary offences. 

Head of the Virgin Megastore Group Richard Branson flew into Dublin to attend the hearing and is horrified that the Irish authorities pursued court action against the association in light of the current health threat from the AIDS virus. 

I find it very dangerous and very sad. The only way to stop the spread of the diseases that we all know about is by the use of a condom amongst sexually active people and therefore to actually discourage the use of condoms is possibly going as far as sentencing some people to death.

Christine Donaghy of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) argues that the implementation of such rigid laws means that the IFPA will waste valuable time in court. 

We're involved in health promotion and family planning. We don't want to spend the next whatever number of years fighting over technicalities in a ridiculous piece of legislation.

The IFPA plans to continue and expand its present service from the Virgin Megastore on Aston Quay. Richard Branson has pledged to support the association financially in the event of similar court action in the future.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 October 1989. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.