The Taoiseach has called for for a national debate on pornography and its effects on young people being exposed to the "avalanche of communications of all descriptions" on the internet.

Enda Kenny said some young minds are being "tainted and even corrupted" by such material.

"We should have a national conversation about what is important for our children, what is a priority for our children when they are growing up and when they grow up".

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of a new helpline for the victims of crime, Mr Kenny said what used to be termed "the lads magazines" are being replaced with pornography and young people are growing up "imagining what they see on a screen might be normal sexual behaviour".

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Mr Kenny said the matter is "part of our agenda for a better and caring Ireland where you can be as comfortable as you can that your children are able to deal these things when they come across them".

The Taoiseach's comments were welcomed by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The ISPCC said callers to its Childline service regularly talk about seeing pornographic material which leaves younger children traumatised and leads to the sexualisation of older children

It said legal reforms are needed to restrict pornography, adding that politicians, internet service providers and parents all need to play their part in protecting children from pornography.