“The first 50 years were extraordinarily repressive..”

The Irish Times has a short editorial on the official renaming of the Irish Film Censor’s Office (Ifco) to the Irish Film Classification Office yesterday. The history of the censorship of literature in the nascent republic began in 1926 with the ominously named Committee on Evil Literature but it was preceded in 1923 with the Censorship of Films Act. Current film censor classifier John Kelleher was interviewed in the Sunday Times 2 years ago and the Irish Times has some fascinating detail of one of his predecessors’ work.

The first film censor, James Montgomery, appointed in 1923, famously stated he knew nothing about movies, but he knew the Ten Commandments and he took them as his code. In his first full year as film censor, he banned 124 movies and cut 166. On the subject of the 1935 British film Father O’Flynn, Mr Montgomery commented: “Reel one might be called ‘stage Irish’, but the girl dancing on the village green shows more leg than I’ve seen on any village green in Ireland. Better amputate them.”