LEINSTER HOUSE HAS become accustomed to hosting protesters outside its gates in recent years – there have been kids dressed as cats, turfcutters with wheelbarrows and even a cement truck driven into its walls.
Yesterday, however, the home of the Irish Government saw its first ever protest by Irish pornstars.
Mark Williamson and one other demonstrator stood outside the Dáil to call attention to the practice of unsafe sex amongst Irish adult film stars.
His campaign, called Like the Clappers, wants to highlight the risks involved for Irish adult performers.
The protest comes after similar rallies in America, which have successfully called for legislation to force producers to allow actors use condoms on set. Last year, the whole industry in LA shut down after a performer tested positive for HIV.
Williamson claims that at least 60 per cent of pornstars have contracted at least one STD while working and there are 22 known cases of HIV since 2004.
The previously unemployed 28-year-old told TheJournal.ie that he will not get hired if he insists on wearing condoms.
It is not a huge industry here. But producers have told me to like it or lump it. They say they’ll find someone else to do it if I insist on wearing protection.
He would like to see legislation passed within 12 months which would force consenting adults to wear condoms while filming.
“The problem stems from it being such a small industry,” he told us. “There is no body set up at the moment which could even implement such a rule.”
Asked why producers object to safe sex, Williamson says it “all boils down to aesthetics”.
“They think condoms kill the fantasy and passion. It makes it a bit more real,” he explains.
Williamson got involved in the industry about a year ago after losing his job as an electrician as a result of the recession.
He booked his first gig after answering an ad posted on Gumtree.
“The problem for us – and one I’ve told my producers about – is that there is no health insurance available to us if it does ‘go wrong’,” added Williamson.