ITS banned list once read like a "who's who" of world literature and some Irish writers were actually upset at failing to fall foul of its draconian workings.
But in the last five years, the Censorship of Publications Board has had just one complaint – concerning the book 'Laura' written by none other than Justice Minister Alan Shatter which at least one reader found 'obscene'.
And it turns out that Mr Shatter's book is holding up the formal abolition of the once-dreaded censorship board. Fianna Fail yesterday failed in efforts to have the book censors consigned to history but only for technical reasons – and because of 'Laura'.
"I make an urgent plea that 'Laura' be set free, like the minister himself. And that it will be on the shelves for ever and a day as a testament to his literary genius," FF's Billy Kelleher declaimed.
Proposing the move, FF justice spokesman Niall Collins said the board was outmoded and unused. He said that since the year 2000, just eight books had been referred to it and none banned.
Mr Shatter's novel was originally published in 1990 and concerns a pro-life politician who has an affair with his secretary and suggests she get an abortion after she becomes pregnant. The book was the subject of a complaint in summer 2013.