Language Freedom Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Founded in 1966, the Language Freedom Movement (Irish: Gluaiseacht Saoirse Teanga) was a political organisation opposed[dubious ] to the state-sponsored revival of the Irish language in the Republic of Ireland, which had the backing of several notable Irish-speaking writers including Séamus Ó Grianna ("Máire") and John B. Keane.[1][2]

The Movement's concerns[edit]


At the time the Movement was formed, if a student failed the Irish paper in their Leaving Certificate they were deemed to have failed the whole exam.[3] This requirement was abolished in 1973, although students are still obliged to study Irish as part of the Leaving Certificate programme, and a pass is required for Irish students entering certain Irish universities (but not for foreign students). In 1974 Irish was removed as a requirement for entry to the civil service.[3]


Significant changes in the Leaving Certificate maths curriculum were reflected in two new textbooks produced by the Irish Christian Brothers. However, material for the new honours (higher-level) syllabus was offered only in a government-subsidised book in Irish, while the pass (lower-level) material was published in English. The situation continued for several years, until affordable alternative textbooks eventually became available.

Mansion House meeting[edit]

The Movement organised a meeting in the Mansion House, Dublin on 21 September 1966.[3][4] About 2000 people turned up, though most of them seemed opposed to the Movement.[3] Opponents taunted the organisers by waving Union Jacks at them.[3] One person seized an Irish Tricolour from the table used by the movement, shouting that the flag should not be displayed at such a meeting.[3] A fight involving ten men broke out and calm was only restored when the LFM agreed to four of their opponents speaking at the meeting.[3]

Gardaí were present. At the request of the organisers, Patrick Byrne TD had asked the Garda Commissioner to ensure law and order prevailed.[5]

Irish language writer Máirtín Ó Cadhain was involved in the disruption of the meeting.[6][7]


The Language Freedom Movement later[when?] went out of existence[why?].

See also[edit]

  • Language revival
  • R.V. Comerford, Ireland Inventing the Nation (Hodder, London 2003) pp142–152.


  1. ^ John B Keane, The Guardian, 31 May 2002, retrieved 8 June 2009
  2. ^ Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004, Tony Crowley, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-927343-X, 9780199273430
  3. ^ a b c d e f g From Language Revival to Survival, Donncha Ó hEallaithe,, originally published in Who Needs Irish?, edited by Ciarán Mac Murdach, published by Veritas Publications, ISBN 1-85390-777-4
  4. ^ A New History of Ireland, T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, Francis John Byrne, William E. Vaughan, Art Cosgrove, Dáibhí Ó Crónin, p.445
  5. ^ Dáil Éireann - Volume 225 - 29 November, 1966 Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Exam success: clever people are not always the intelligent ones, Con Houlihan, Sunday Independent, 23 September 2007, retrieved 1 July 2009
  7. ^ Century of Endeavour, Roy Johnston, p.203

External links[edit]