National Archives show minister for justice Alan Dukes clashed with attorney general John Rodgers over access to the film censor's historical files.
In 1986 Kevin Rockett, then academic and chairman of the Irish Film Institute , wrote to attorney
general John Rogers to say he had been refused access to the film censor's files, even for films of the 1920s, by then minister for justice Alan Dukes .
Rogers wrote to Dukes saying that he did not see the legal basis on which access to the files,
especially for films made 30 years or more previously, could be resisted or refused.
A month later, Dukes responded that over the years, censors and ministers for justice had always considered themselves precluded , on the basis of breach
of confidence, from disclosure of information on films.
Further letters ensued and eventually the files were opened following a long struggle. Rockett told The Irish Times that a fter a long and frustrating campaign he eventually convinced
the Official Film Censor in 1998 to transfer the more than 100 volumes of film censorship material to the National Archives.
Rockett wrote Irish Film Censorship: A Cultural Journey from Silent Cinema to Internet Pornography in 2004, with
the help of those files.
I said to the Irish Censor, about a year ago, that the assistant censors were largely female, and married (or had children) or were older, and that all three of these factors had been shown to give a predisposition towards censorship.
He had the nerve to question my basis for saying that!
5 minutes spent reading the public research on either the BBFC or Ofcom websites would convince anybody of that, quite apart from it being plainly obvious to anyone who has talked
about these issues to these different groups or just has a grasp of real life.
Of course I was on the wrong tack, what I didn't know back then was that the assistant censors were largely picked for their present or past membership of the Fianna
FÃ¡il political party!
In addition, despite the appeal by Shauna's Adult shop over Anabolic Initiations No.5 to the Supreme Court still not having been resolved, the police here are still seizing adult dvds on the basis that
they don't have a certificate from IFCO which IFCO refuses to grant, of course.
But the censor told me that they were just called in by the police to adjudge whether a seized video was something that would be classifiable or not, ie just an expert witness which is also the BBFC official line.
sections to do with censorship are sections 9 and 10.
It amends the law on cinema certification and dvd certification, reaffirming as it does so, a ban on a cinema certificate if the film contains blasphemy , something I raised with the
censor as they clearly just copied the phrases used in the Censorship of Films 1923 Act.
The (Irish) Video Recordings Act 1989 in contrast talks about stirring up religious hatred which isn't quite as bad, or out of date as a concept if
still objectionable on free expression grounds.