Irish Film Censors at IFCO

 IFCO: the Irish film censor board

8th January

Classified as Censors...

Irish Film Censor's office to rename as Classifiers

IFCOThe Irish Film Censor's Office will remove the "censorship" part from its name as it emerged only four pornographic films and one video game fell foul of its powers last year.

Current head of the Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) John Kelleher believes that the role of moral guardian of the masses is long gone.

And to reflect the seismic shift in the ethos of the censor over the past 85 years, the title of "Censor" will soon be no more. The Minister (for Justice) is planning to change, at my request, the name of the office.

I understand that an amendment is in the pipeline which will change our name from the Irish Film Censor's Office to the Irish Film Classification Office. I think for most people, that would be a very welcome change,
said Mr Kelleher.

Four hardcore pornographic DVDs and one video game have fallen foul of the Irish censor over the past year. Altogether, staff at the Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) reviewed more than 8,000 items. None of the 280 feature films and more than 300 film trailers was deemed unpalatable for public consumption.

However, the same cannot be said of four pornographic DVDs and the video game Manhunt 2, which were all banned in 2007. The DVDs were banned as they were found to be indecent or obscene and likely to deprave or corrupt.


23rd July

Update: Reclassified as Censors...

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Irish Film Censor's office renamed as Classifiers

IFCOIrish 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 at home.

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 signpost.

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 children.

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.


17th July

Update: Mega Censor...

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Irish film censor may be merged into telecoms, broadcasting and film censor

Irish Film Censors Office logo The Irish Department of Finance has published recommendations for around 5.3bn worth of public spending cuts; 37m across Arts and Culture, which includes the transfer of the Irish Film Board's functions to a new enterprise agency and discontinuation of the investment fund.

The report proposes a Mega Censor:

  • The merger of ComReg with the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (the result of merging the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the regulatory functions of the RTÉ Authority) because of the growing convergence between the communications and broadcasting industries.
  • Transferring the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) into the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)


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