Censorship
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Ireland 🇮🇪 (known commonly as the Republic of Ireland to distinguish from the island, but officially simply Ireland, and sometimes as Eire to distinguish from Northern Ireland) is a European country which practices Christianity, mainly Catholicism. Its languages are English and Irish Gaelic. It is a member of the European Union.

General censorship[]

Many of the works listed were banned up from after the 1916 Easter Rising due to the heavy influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Things such as teachings that didn't abide by Catholic Church ruling, feminism, sexual content, divorce, homosexuality, wedlock, and the like were among prohibited. However, eventually the Catholic Church's influence in the government started to lower down by the 1960s, and so did the censors.

Book censorship[]

Under Irish law, a book can only be initially banned for twelve years. Board members must read the submissions and then decide by majority on whether to censor a text. The process of book-banning being almost totally extinct in Ireland now.

  • Publications such as The People, Sunday Chronicle, Daily Mail, and Illustrated Police News were forbidden by the 1926 Committee on Evil Literature due to lurid descriptions of violence and sex. The ban was lifted in 2012.
  • Womens' lifestyle magazines such as Vogue, Woman's Weekly and Woman's World were banned for discussing women's issues that are in conflict with what Irish women were brought up to believe (including an advertisement for depilatory cream). The ban on these magazines was lifted in 2012.
  • News of the World was banned until its shutdown in 2011.
  • With the exception of college magazines, any book regarding the topic of abortion was banned or edited out until the 2018 referendum repealed the anti-abortion Eighth Amendment.
  • Christianity not Mysterious - this non-fiction work by John Toland was banned by the Irish Parliament in 1696 for contradicting the teaching of the Anglican Church. Copies of the book were burnt by the public hangman in Dublin.
  • Droll Stories - these short stories by Balzac were banned for obscenity in 1953. The ban was lifted in 1967.
  • Married Love - this non-fiction book by Marie Stopes was banned by the Irish Censorship Board for discussing birth control.
  • And Quiet Flows the Don - the English translation of this Mikhail Shokholov's novel sequence were banned for "indecency".
  • Elmer Gantry - this novel by Sinclair Lewis was banned in the Irish Free State.
  • The House of Gold - this novel by Liam O'Flaherty was the first book to be banned by the Irish Free State for alleged "indecency". Republished in 2013.
  • A Farewell to Arms - this novel by Ernest Hemingway was suppressed by the Irish Free State.
  • Marriage and Morals - this non-fiction work by Bertrand Russell was suppressed in the Irish Free State for discussing sex education, birth control and open marriages.
  • Commonsense and the Child - this non-fiction work by Ethel Mannin was banned in the Irish Free State for advocating sex education for adolescents.
  • The Bulpington of Blup and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind - these works by H. G. Wells were banned in the Irish Free State.
  • Brave New World - this novel by Aldous Huxley was banned in Ireland in 1932, allegedly because of references of sexual promiscuity.
  • Men of Good Will - the English translation of this Julius Romains' novel sequence was banned in the Irish Free State.
  • The Martyr - this novel written by Liam O'Flaherty was banned in the Irish Free State.
  • The Laws of Life - this non-fiction work by Halliday Sutherland was banned in the Irish Free State for discussing sex education and Calendar-based contraceptive methods – even though The Laws of Life had been granted a Cum permissu superiorum endorsement by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster.
  • Honourable Estate - this novel by Vera Brittain was banned in the Irish Free State.
  • I Knock at the Door - this autobiography by Seán O'Casey was banned in Ireland.
  • Dutch Interior - this novel by Frank O'Connor was banned in Ireland.
  • The Tailor and Ansty - this non-fiction work by Frank Cross was banned by the Irish censors for discussing sexuality in rural Ireland.
  • Borstal Boy - this autobiographical novel by Brendan Behan was banned in Ireland in 1958. The Irish Censorship of Publications Board was not obliged to reveal its reason but it is believed that it was rejected for its critique of Irish republicanism and the Catholic Church, and its depiction of adolescent sexuality.
  • The Country Girls - this novel by Edna O'Brien was banned by Ireland's censorship board in 1960 for its explicit sexual content.
  • The Lonely Girl (1962) - this novel by Edna O'Brien was banned in Ireland in 1962 after Archbishop John Charles McQuaid complained personally to Justice Minister Charles Haughey that it "was particularly bad".
  • The Dark - this novel by John McGahern was banned in Ireland for obscenity.
  • My Secret Garden - this book by Nancy Friday was banned in Ireland for its sexual content.
  • The Catcher in the Rye - this book was banned in 1951, the ban has since been lifted, and the book has become required reading in many schools.
  • A large amount of now world-famous Irish literature was banned for a time in Ireland, including writers like Liam O'Flaherty, Seán Ó Faoláin, Edna O'Brien, Oliver St John Gogarty, or the egregiously cruel treatment of storyteller Timothy Buckley and his wife Anastasia, whose stories of married life in The Tailor And Ansty were considered obscene, with even an actual book Burning taking place outside their house. Contrary to what many people believed, James Joyce's Ulysses was never banned in Ireland - in fact, it was never printed or imported in the country in the first place, because they were certain it would be banned if it was.
  • The Raped Little Runaway - this book was banned in 2016 for depictions of child rape. With the book-banning process extinction in Ireland, the book was the first banned in nearly twenty years and the decision made national news.

Movie censorship[]

Until 2006, even filming a horror or witchcraft film in Ireland was virtually impossible, due to laws against practicing witchcraft or the supernatural.

  • The Unknown - this film was banned on 27 August for its cruel sensationalism and semi-nudity of the heroine. As with Frankenstein, the unrestricted General certificate caused concern for "youngsters and nervous adults". The Appeal Board upheld the rejection in the same year, though no specific date is available.
  • Dracula (1931) - this film was passed with proposed cuts on 5 June, with a request for the distributor to "delete some of the horrors and re-show the film".
  • Monkey Business - This film by the Marx Brothers was banned because the censors thought it might encourage "anarchic tendencies". The film passed on 8 January with "16 unspecified cuts to script", including characters falling over each other in a dance scene. The ban was lifted in 2000.
  • Frankenstein (1932) - this film was banned on 5 February for being demoralising and unsuitable for children or "nervous people" - age-restricted certificates were not introduced until 1965. The ban was overturned by the Appeal Board on 8 March and its uncut version was given a certificate on 9 March.
  • Scarface (1932) - this film was banned on 19 August. The ban was upheld by the Films Appeal Board on 30 September. The film was banned again on 29 August 1941 (under the alternate title of "Gang War"), but it was upheld by the Films Appeal Board on 7 October. The film was banned for the last time on 24 April 1953 (under the original title). However, no appeal was lodged.
  • Fantasia - this movie was banned and then recut on initial release, on 30 April 1942, in order to remove the scientific talk which introduces the "Rite of Spring", which according to a censor, "gave an entirely materialistic view on the origin of life" (most likely because said scene focuses on the Big Bang, something that would have been at odds with traditional Catholic beliefs). It has since been released entirely uncut.
  • A Day in Soviet Russia - this documentary initially passed with "extensive cuts under the EPO" (for infringing on wartime neurality) on 2 June 1942. The documentary was advertised to open on a Sunday, but the certificate was withdrawn on Saturday afternoon.
  • Casablanca - banned on 19 March 1942 for infringing on the Emergency Powers Order preserving wartime neutrality (Ireland was neutral during the war) by portraying Vichy France and the Nazis in a "sinister light". A cut version removing dialogue about Rick and Ilsa's love affair was eventually passed on 15 June 1945. On 16 July 1974, RTÉ (the Irish public broadcaster) inquired about showing the film on television, it still required a dialogue cut to Ilsa expressing her love for Rick. Since then, all the film's releases are uncut.
  • A Yank in the RAF - This film was passed with 30 cuts on 10 August 1943 due to the EPO. It was later passed on 27 April 1945 after the EPO was lifted, this time with only five cuts. The certificate was withdrawn after one week's run at the Savoy Cinema in September after 41,000 had seen the film.
  • The Outlaw - This film was banned due to sexual references.
  • Mildred Pierce - this film was banned due to its portrayal of adultery. The ban was later lifted and the film got a PG rating.
  • Brief Encounter - this film was initially banned because it was considered too permissive of adultery. The ban was later overturned and the film was rated PG.
  • The Big Sleep - this film was initially banned due to its sexual references. Later, the ban was lifted and the film was rated PG.
  • Outrage - this film was banned due to its rape theme.
  • Passenger (1963) - this Polish feature film was initially banned in 1966, as the censor described it as a "horror film" and objected to a scene showing naked women being driven to the camp. The film had the ban overturned by the Films Appeal Board without cuts.
  • Ulysses - this film based on the book by James Joyce was banned for being "subversive to public morality", upheld by the Films Appeal Board and banned again in 1975. The second ban was lifted in December 2000 at director JOseph Strick's request, even though it was screened at the Irish Film Theatre (a private club cinema) in the late 1970s. The first public screening of the film was held in February 2001, with then-censor Sheamus Smith and Strick both in attendance. It went on general release at the Irish Film Institute from 8 February 2001.
  • Emmanuelle - initially banned during its premiere in 1974, later classified as "18"[1].
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex - this film was banned on 20 March 1973. A cut version was passed in 1979 and released theatrically in 1980, which had removed both a bestiality reference ("the greatest lay I ever had", referring to a sheep") and a man having sex with a bread loaf. The ban and the censorship were lifted and the film was rated 18.
  • A Clockwork Orange - banned on 10 April 1973 due to excessive violence. Warner Bros. decided to not appeal against the ban due to the film causing public controversy. The film was passed uncut for cinema on 13 December 1999 and released on 17 March 2000. The re-release poster was rejected due to the words "ultra-violence" and "rape" in the tagline (it is a replica of the original British version). Sheamus Smith explained his rejection to The Irish Times "I believe that the use of those words in the context of advertising would be offensive and inappropriate".
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian - this film banned in Ireland on 29 April 1980 until the ban was overturned by the Films Appeal Board on 7 August 1987.
  • Zombie Flesh Eaters - this film was banned on 14 October 1980, however it was overturned by the Films Appeal Board on 21 October. The film was banned again for video in 1994 as prohibition order #702, which was overturned in 2012.
  • Last Tango in Paris - this film was banned after its initial release in 1981, but it was later overturned. The film since then, was rated 18.
  • Porky's - this film was banned for two weeks on 1 February 1982 after initial release. The ban was removed by the Film Appeals Board on 19 February. The film, as of then, was rated 16 (theatrical) and 18 (home video).
  • Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip - this film was banned on 23 July 1982, however it was released on DVD in 2006.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High - this film was banned on 8 October 1982. However, on 29 October, it was overturned by the Film Appeals Board. It was released uncut on home video
  • Monsignor - this film was banned on 29 November 1982 due to its conflation of religion and adultery, as it features an affair between a priest and a postulant nun. The ban was overturned by the Film Appeals Board on 17 December. Said decision caused controversy among members of Fianna Fáil - chairman Ned Brennan believed the majority of the Irish people did not want it to be released, saying "standards must be mantained", wanting it banned on "moral grounds".
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life - banned from 1983 until 1990.
  • Cannibal Holocaust - this film was banned on initial release on 1984. The ban was lifted in 2006.
  • Crimes of Passion - this film was banned on 18 November 1985 and released on DVD in 2008.
  • Working Girls - this independent film was banned on 12 August 1986, however, the ban was upheld by the Film Appeals Board on 28 December 1986.
  • Personal Services - this film was banned on 13 March 1987. The ban was lifted on 12 May 1987, with the ban being overturned by the Film Appeals Board.
  • Meet the Feebles - this film was banned in Ireland at some point in 1989, due to its over-the-top gore and adult themes.
  • Whore - this film was banned on 9 August 1991. The ban was upheld by the Films Appeal Board on 20 September 1991, although an earlier appeal meeting held on 28 August failed to come to a decision. This all postponed the Irish home release, due on the week of the failed appeal with 2000 copies. The video distributor, National Cable Vision, submitted a tape to Smith for a reconsideration on home media, where it had the unfortunate honour of being the first ever banned video, as legislation providing that power had been passed in July.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - This horror film was banned for video in 1991 as prohibition order #3, which was revoked on 2 September 1999 with an 18 certificate.
  • Bad Lieutenant - this film was banned on 29 January 1993 due to its "demeaning treatment of women", which was upheld by the Film Appeals Board on 18 February 1993. The film was banned again on 1 April 2003 for video.
  • Natural Born Killers - this film was banned on its initial release on 11 October 1994, because Sheamus Smith was concerned about "copycat" killings linked to the film. This reasoning was accepted by the Films Appeal Board, who upheld the ban on 20 January 1995. However, as of 1 May 2001, the ban has since been lifted.
  • Dangerous Game - this film was banned for video in 1994, most likely due to a violent rape scene. The cinema distributors, Abbey Films, never submitted it for an Irish theatrical release. PolyGram appealed the decision - the viewing took place on 23 November 1994, where the ban was upheld.
  • I Spit on Your Grave - this horror film was banned on video four times. In 1994 (prohibition order #701), in 2000, on 5 February 2002 and on 14 September 2010 (#1 the latter times).
  • Showgirls - this film was banned on 8 November 1995. No reason was given, but it was speculated because of the rape scene, which was initially cut in the UK. The film passed uncut on 23 October 2017 for video.
  • From Dusk till Dawn - this film was banned on 1 May 1996 due to its "irresponsible and totally gratuitous" violence, especially in the wake of the then-recent Dunblane and Port Arthur massacres. The ban was revoked on 27 January 2004 for video.
  • Crash - this film was passed with one cut of 35 seconds to sexually explicit dialogue, in the sex scene between James and Catherine, where she fantasises about Vaughn. This was in an attempt to dissuade the distributors from releasing it on video, as they would have to prepare a specially cut Irish version at a high expense for a small market, but it did not work.
  • Preaching to the Perverted - this film about an MP recruiting a computer salesman to infiltrate a London sadomasochist club was banned for cinema on 28 October and later on video, as its trailer caused a mass recall of Donnie Brasco's rental video (which had been passed as an 18), due to having not being classified. 3300 copies were withdrawn and replaced, with a potential fine of €1000 to stores providing it.
  • Retroactive - this film was banned for video as prohibition order #97, which was revoked on 20 November 1997.
  • Freaks - this film initially banned as prohibition order #137 on 7 February 1999 due to it being "grossly offensive to disabled people", according to then-assistan censor (and current director) Ger Connolly.
  • Romance (1999) - this film was banned for featuring explicit copulation scenes. The ban is still in place.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money - this film was presumably banned upon release in 1999. The ban ultimately was revoked on 16 November 2004 for video.
  • The Idiots - this film was banned for video on 26 October 1999, no doubt due to unsimulated sexual content showing an erection and vaginal penetration.
  • Of Freaks and Men - this film was banned for video on 21 October 2000 due to sadistic scenes of sexual humiliation.
  • Riki-Oh: The Story of Rick, For Your Pleasure, Turkish Delight and Cradle of Fear - these films were banned on 28 March 2002 for home video.
  • The Pornographer - this film was banned on 30 September 2002 for video. The censored UK version was submitted, which had already removed 12 seconds showing ejaculation for a BBFC 18 certificate.
  • Baise-moi - this film was banned on 28 November 2002 for video. The decision was upheld by the Films Appeal Board. It was released theatrically in the summer of 2002, but only on a club basis at the Irish Film Institute, where admission is restricted to members and guests of 18 years and over.
  • Spun - this film was banned on 8 July 2003 under Section 7 (2) of the Censorship of Films Act, 1923. According to Kelleher, he did not object to the content and only banned it to showcase a legal anomaly, which meant that video and cinema releases of the same work automatically got the same rating. He knew that the ban would be reversed and the law was changed soon after. The ban was overturned by the Films Appeal Board on 21 July 2003.
  • Boy Eats Girl - this film was banned for containing an "obstensible" but graphic suicide attempt. This decision however was reversed on 25 July 2005.

Internet censorship[]

  • During the period of the 2018 referendum to repeal the Eight Amendment (which prohibited abortions within Ireland), Facebook and Google banned all advertisements from both sides, after it was found out that the anti-repeal movement had used foreign advertisers to increase their publicity.
  • The Pirate Bay was blocked on most Internet services after 2009.
  • In March 2017, the AI app SimSimi was banned in both the Republic and Northern Ireland after many reports of cyber-bullying cases regarding the program. While the app can still be purchased from stores, any attempt to send a message will prompt a brief message regarding the ban and a quote against bullying.
  • The Irish government has prohibited Uber from doing private fares, fearing that it would cause an effect on Ireland's taxi industry and its Hail-O service.

Television censorship[]

From the 1970s, the Irish government started an institutional ban on the IRA. In 1988, under the Section 31 of the Broadcasting Authority Act, they added a similar ban which applied to every terrorist organization in the UK, both being lifted in January 1994, four years before the Good Friday Agreement. However, during this period, any material which mentioned The Troubles was not broadcast.

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation - in the episode "High Ground" with Data mentioning that Ireland was reunited in 2024 after a successful "terrorist" campaign, featuring a fantastic-racism version of Northern Ireland. Such comment caused controversy for both sides in The Troubles that only in 2006 its full version was broadcast.
  • The English Class - this sitcom aired by RTE about a group of recently-arrived immigrants who attended a night school class to improve their English had one episode, where a woman missed class, the teacher later announced that she was murdered and dumped next to a railway line humorously, which was too much similar to a case of a Swiss student who was recently murdered in Galway, which provoked many complaints about its poor taste.
  • Father Ted:
    • The finale of this series originally would have Ted, who previously talked Kevin out of suicide, joining Keving on the ledge because his American parish trip fell through. It was changed to a montage of clips in the final airing. While the writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews were not satisfied with the original ending, the change was solidified due to the death of Ted's actor, Dermot Morgan, which would make the implied suicide of his character inappropriate.
    • This series was also subject to criticism of those who deemed it "anti-Irish", many of them being English people of Irish descent, who also thought that it portrayed the Catholic Church in Ireland in a bad light, which the show parodied with the main characters protesting of an obscene film (where they hold signs with the writings "Down with this sort of thing") which only makes the film more popular.

Video game censorship[]

  • Manhunt 2 - this game was banned in Ireland by the Irish Film Classification Office two weeks after its initial release due its gory violent content. This is only video game to have ever been banned by the Irish film censors.
  • Omega Labyrinth Z - Although rated PEGI 18, this game was banned due to its sexualised content involving girls who appear to be underage.

Other[]

  • Many schools in Gaeltacht regions (regions with a predominantly Irish Gaelic-speaking population) enact rules or bans against speaking English during class, which is very common in summer-course Irish colleges, where even speaking a single sentence warrants being expelled from the course period. A particular case was when a creche (kindergarten) in Connemara divided bilingual children from non-bilingual children, despite already being an Irish Gaelic-speaking creche.
  • At one point, there were churches which separated male from female churchgoers. These became very obscure and nobody was surprised when the last church that did separation of gender discontinued it in 2017.
  • Until 1971, any patron of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association, the organ which administers hurling and Gaelic football) who practiced or watched sports such as association football, rugby, cricket and hockey was stripped of its membership under the Rule 27, as these sports were considered garrison sports (as these were played by the British soldiers in Ireland during the British rule), and thus, foreign.

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