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Censors rise to porn video challenge.

FILM censors are to carry out a porn probe into thousands of videos released before 1994.

The move will follow the closing of a legal loophole later this year by Justice Minister John O'Donoghue.

A Justice spokesman said the minister will sign a "statutory instrument" which will put the onus on the video industry to submit all videos for certification for the first time.

Older pornographic and violent videos can still be rented or sold without having been checked

However, Irish Film Censor Sheamus Smith can order them off the shelves if they come to the notice of his office.

"We have been in a position to prohibit pornographic material made before 1994,'' said Mr Smith.

"At the moment, if the Gardai or Customs and Excise seize material or if a member of the public reports something to us, it can be prohibited.

"We have already checked hundreds or even thousands of pre-1994 videos.

"After this new measure comes into being, if video shops have anything on the shelves that doesn't have a sticker from us, it will be, by definition, illegal.

"We are not just talking about pornographic videos, but every movie that has not been classified."

Mr Smith said that when the video certification was introduced in 1994 under the Video Recordings Act, they could not have dealt with the huge number of back catalogue videos already in existence.

"That would have been an impossible job while keeping up with the current work.

"We would certify about 3,000 videos submitted to us a year."

Any video which arrives in Ireland without a classification is banned until the Film Censor has viewied it.

It is only after he has given it a classification certificate can the video be released to rent or buy.

A new inspector will be appointed to the Censor's office to enforce the new law when it becomes obligatory for the industry to submit the pre-1994 videos.
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Author:Bushe, Andrew
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2000
Words:322
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