By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Thousands of videos released before 1994 are to be checked for sex and violence by the Film Censor’s office later this year when Justice Minister John O’Donoghue closes off a loophole in the law.
A Department of Justice spokesman said the minister will sign a statutory instrument in the "near future" that will put the onus on the video industry to submit all pre-1994 videos for certification and classification for the first time.
At the moment, older pornographic and violent videos can be rented or sold without a requirement to have them checked — though 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. 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," Smith said.
Smith said that when the video certification was introduced in 1994 under the Video Recordings Act, the government could not deal with the huge back catalogue videos already in existence.
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A new inspector will be appointed to the censor’s department to enforce the new law when it becomes obligatory for the industry to submit the pre-1994 videos.