Seanad Éireann - Volume 178 - 18 November, 2004

Matter raised under Standing Order 30.

  Mr. Ó Murchú: In accordance with Standing Order 30, as it is 12:50 p.m. I call Senator Brian Hayes on a matter of concern.

  Mr. B. Hayes: I thank the Acting Leader for coming into the House to hear the point I wish to raise. Last Monday, on “Questions and Answers”, John Kelleher who is the Irish film censor made a point which he made in last year’s annual report to the Government that I wish to amplify.

As the Acting Leader is aware, the Censorship Act dates back to 1923 and the law in regard to video release, the Video Recordings Act, dates back to 1989, section 3(2) of which I ask the Acting Leader to bring to the attention of the Government. Section 3(2) gives explicit power to the censor to ensure he or she cannot refuse to give a different age classification to a video film as against a film, which is on general release.

An issue has arisen in recent weeks concerning the correctness of whether we should change the law to allow the censor to be given greater discretion to ensure he or she can make that decision concerning a video release. I ask the Government to look at this amendment to the law. It is important that we put in place protection for young people. I am not a great believer in censorship, notwithstanding my views on censorship regarding political paramilitary parties. However, it is important to give power to the censor in order that he or she has the discretion to make a distinction between the age classification on films on general release as against the age classification for video because they are two different issues. One can be sure the 12 year old going to the cinema with a parent will be going to the appropriate movie. That is not the case with videos. As a result of the proliferation of video stores, peers can go in and buy a video. We have got to be vigilant in this area and I ask the Government to look at this particular lacuna in the law.