Cead dom, cead duit?

Tá stair fhada ag an chinsireacht in Éirinn. Sa Deisceart cuireadh cosc ar shaothar a lán scríbhneoirí cáiliúla, Liam Ó Flaithearta, Breandán Ó Beacháin, Seán Ó Faoláin agus Frank O’Connor ina measc. Níor ceadaíodh leabhar a luaigh gnéas.

Bhí cinsireacht pholaitiúil ann chomh maith: cuireadh cosc ar leabhair áirithe faoi na Trioblóidí.

Níor chuir na cinsirí isteach go mór ar an drámaíocht, áfach: fágadh sin don lucht féachana.

Bhí círéib san amharclann nuair a léiríodh ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ den chéad uair. Cáineadh ‘The Plough and the Stars’ go géar: deirtear gurb é sin an fáth gur fhág Seán O’Casey slán le hÉirinn.(Shíl tírghráthóirí áirithe gur rud maslach é bratach na hÉireann a bheith ar crochadh sa chistin sa dráma.

Bhí fadhbanna acu maidir le bratacha ag an am sin fosta, de réir cosúlachta.)

Chuaigh líon mór scríbhneoirí thar sáile: mhothaigh siad nach raibh saoirse acu sa bhaile.

Tháinig deireadh le cosc ar leabhair i 2010. Ach tá cinsirí againn sa Tuaisceart go fóill. Chuir Coiste Ealaíon Bhaile na Mainistreach cosc ar an dráma ‘The Bible, the Complete Word of God (Abridged)’ ar na mallaibh.

Dúirt daoine áirithe go ndéanann an dráma ionsaí ar an Bhíobla; dúirt daoine eile nach raibh an dráma chomh greannmhar sin, go raibh sé páistiúíl leoga.

Cuireadh an cosc i leataobh faoi dheireadh agus mar gheall ar an ruaille buaille, díoladh na ticéid uilig amach.

Dúirt urlabhraí na hamharclainne gur ceapadh nach mbeadh ach cúpla céad sa lucht féachana roimh na hagóidí.

Ní raibh conspóid i gCathair an Chultúir anuraidh i dtaca le cinsireacht drámaí. Ní bheidh fadhb ar bith ag lucht na Gaeilge i nDoire maidir le cinsireacht leabhar: ní cheannaíonn an chuid is mó acu leabhair Ghaeilge cibé ar bith. Druideadh an t-aon siopa leabhar Gaeilge sa chathair cúpla seachtain ó shin.

Agus ní chuirfeadh cinsireacht nuachtán buairt ar na Gaeilgeoirí ach oiread: níl nuachtán seachtainiúil Gaeilge ann fiú.

Censorship in Ireland has a long history. In the South, the works of many famous writers, including Liam O’Flaherty, Brendan Behan, Seán Ó Faoláin and Frank O’Connor were banned, No books which mentioned sex were allowed.

There was also political censorship: certain books were banned during the Troubles.

Plays were not interfered with much, however: that was left up to the audience. There was a riot in the theatre at the first performance of ‘The Playboy of the Western World’. ‘The Plough and the Stars’ came in for severe criticism. It is said that that is why Seán O’Casey left Ireland. (Some patriots though that it was an insult to have the Irish flag hanging in the kitchen in the play: they apparently had problems with flags in those days too.) Many writers went abroad: they felt there was no freedom at home.

The ban on books came to an end in 2010. But we still have censors in the North. The Arts Committee in Newtownabbey recently banned ‘The Bible, the Complete Version (Abridged)’. Some people said the play was an attack on the Bible; others said that the play was not all that funny, that it was, in fact, childish. The ban was eventually lifted and because of the fuss that was caused, all the tickets were sold out. A spokesperson for the theatre said that they would have had an audience of a couple of hundred people before the protests began.

There was no controversy over theatre censorship in the City of Culture last year. The Irish speakers in Derry will have no problems with book censorship: most of them don’t buy Irish books anyhow. The Irish language bookshop in the city closed a few weeks ago. And newspaper censorship would not upset Irish speakers either: there isn’t even a weekly newspaper in Irish.