Censorship and classification background

In Ireland, as in many other countries, the right of freedom of expression is subject to certain restrictions that are justified in the public interest.

These include restrictions permitting the classification of films and the censorship of publications under particular circumstances.

Under Irish law, decisions regarding censorship/classification are determined by independent bodies: the Director of Film Classification and the Censorship of Publications Board.  A decision of either of these bodies can be appealed.

There are three areas: 

  1. Video games
  2. Films, Videos and DVDs
  3. Publications

 

1.    Video Games

Video games are exempt from classification under the Video Recordings Act 1989. However, under Section 3(1) of the Act, the Director of Film Classification may prohibit a video game if he judges that it is unfit for viewing.  

Ireland, along with a number of other European countries, is a member of PAN European Game Information (PEGI), an organisation that produces age ratings for video games. Games companies voluntarily participate in the ratings system.

 

2.    Films, Videos and DVDs

The Irish Film Classification Office is responsible for examining and certifying films, videos and DVDs. The Director of Film Classification is independent in the exercise of his official functions. The Minister for Justice and Equality cannot direct or change a decision made by him.

An aggrieved person may appeal a decision of the Director of Film Classification to the Classification of Films Appeal Board. The decisions of the appeal board are final.The Irish Film Censor’s Office and the Censorship of Films Appeal Board were established under the Censorship of Films Act 1923. Since 20 July, 2008, these have been known as the Irish Film Classification Office and the Classification of Films Appeal Board, respectively.

 

Contact Details

(For both the Irish Film Classification Office and the Classification of Films Appeal Board)

Address:  Blackhall Walk
  Smithfield
  Dublin 7
  D07 NRR6
Phone:  + 353 1 799-6100

 

3.    Publications

Censorship of publications is governed by legislation and administered by two voluntary boards appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality:

Any person may make a complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board.


A prohibition order may be appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board by

 

The appeal board may affirm, revoke or vary a prohibition. Complaints and appeals must be made in accordance with the Censorship of Publications Regulations 1980.


Register of Prohibited Publications 2012 (PDF) is maintained by the Censorship of Publications Board.

 
Contact Details
(For the secretary of both the Censorship of Publications Board and the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board)

Address: c/o Irish Film Classification Office,
  Blackhall Walk
  Smithfield
  Dublin 7
Phone: + 353 01 7996100