Theresa Murray trawls back through the Leinster Leader archives to find out what made the news 75 years ago.
At the meeting of the Kildare County Council on Monday, Mr Kilmartin moved that the attendance of children at cinemas at night should be regulated, the Leinster Leader reported on May 27, 1944.
He didn’t know whether the Council had the necessary powers but he was raising the matter at the request of a number of CYMS branches in North Kildare.
As they all knew, the amount of juvenile crime throughout the country has spread to alarming dimensions, and there was a wave of vandalism which was a cause of deep concern to all public authorities.
There was a growing section of opinion inclined to blame the flow of drivel from Hollywood for this and there was no doubt a certain type of picture — especially those dealing with sex — were definitely harmful to children.
He didn’t know that they could do anything about it, but it was sufficiently serious to exercise all serious-minded members of the community. There were definite powers however, which county councils possessed in regard to the structural and sanitary conditions of many of these buildings, and as far as he could see the great majority of them had been constructed purely with an eye to getting rich quick on the part of the owners, and with no regard to the health of the people in a country such as this, where the white scourge exacted such a heavy mortality toll, it behoved them to pay more attention to the condition of all these places of entertainment from the point of view of their effect on public health.
What good was regulating space in dance halls, if cinemas — most of them damp and ill-ventilated — were allowed to be over crowded and ideal for the spread of tuberculosis.
He was not against proper pictures for children at proper times, and in proper buildings, and this was a matter for serious thought. Children were gone completely out of control.
Mr P Byrne said he often wondered how they escaped terrible disaster in some of these buildings where the children were packed so tightly in the cheap parts that they were almost climbing up the walls. In a fetid, germ-laden atmosphere, this thing was going on in many of their provincial towns and there seemed to be nothing in the nature of organised restriction.
He added that the moral tone is equally if not more important. Many of these pictures shown do not harmonise with Catholic ideals of social morality. They make little of some of the most sacred institutions of life.
The gangster film is definitely harmful to the child mind, because it imprints on it in a kind of glamourous way a false standard of life and behaviour.
In other countries, special pictures are provided for children and shown at special times.
Mr Dowling — It is disgusting to have children mixed up with adults at night shows.