Irish video rental stores and other outlets face fines for supplying children with DVDs classified for older viewers.
Legislation makes it an offence for the first time to breach film classification certificates in over-the- counter rentals and sales and offenders can be fined up to €2,000 or even jailed for three years.
It means younger DVD library members may be asked to provide proof of their age if they try to rent a film with an age specific rating such as 12A, 15A, 16 or 18 and could be refused certain films even if they have parental permission to view it
The laws also make changes to the Film Censor's Office which is now called the Irish Film Classification Office and no longer has powers to ban a film outright [A bit hard to believe! Somebody should try
resubmitting Manhunt 2 to test this out].
Censor John Kelleher, who becomes director of film classification, welcomed the move, which he said reflected the profound changes in Ireland's recent past. We have moved far away from the nanny state moral guardian censorship of yesteryear
towards an acceptance of the general principle that, in a mature society, adults should be free, subject to the law, to make their own choices.
Today, we don't censor, we classify. We don't decline to explain or justify our decisions. Rather, we welcome the fact that we can provide the public, and parents, with age-related classification and consumer advice. We have gone from stop sign to
The censor still has a role in protecting under-18s, however, and his powers in that area have been strengthened with specific reference in the law to his duty to apply restrictive classifications where a film is likely to cause harm to
Much of the existing law, the 85-year-old Censorship of Film Act of 1923, survives and the censor still has to take into consideration scenes that render a film indecent, obscene or blasphemous or would tend to inculcate principles
contrary to public morality.
As part of the changes, a scale of fees is being introduced to ease the cost of applying for classification for independent film makers, foreign movie distributors and art house films that get a very limited cinema release. Instead of paying €12
per minute of film for every copy distributed to a cinema, they will pay €3.