Language Freedom Movement
Founded in 1966, the Language Freedom Movement (Irish: Gluaiseacht Saoirse Teanga) was an organization dedicated to the opposition of the state-sponsored revival of the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 with backing by such notable figures as Irish-speaking writers Séamus Ó Grianna
Séamus Ó Grianna
Séamus Ó Grianna was an Irish writer, who used the pen name Máire. Born into a family of poets and storytellers in Ranafast, County Donegal, he attended local primary school until the age of 14. He spent several years at home and as a seasonal worker in Scotland. He attended an Irish language...

 ("Máire") and John B. Keane
John B. Keane
John Brendan Keane was an Irish playwright, novelist and essayist from Listowel, County Kerry.-Life and career:...



At the time the Movement was formed, if a student failed Irish in their Leaving Certificate
Leaving Certificate
The Leaving Certificate Examinations , commonly referred to as the Leaving Cert is the final examination in the Irish secondary school system. It takes a minimum of two years preparation, but an optional Transition Year means that for those students it takes place three years after the Junior...

 they were deemed to have failed the whole exam. The 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 Irish universities (but not for foreign students). In 1974 Irish was removed as a requirement for entry to the civil service
Civil service of the Republic of Ireland
The Civil Service of Ireland is the collective term for the permanent staff of the Departments of State and certain State Agencies who advise and work for the Government of Ireland. It consists of two broad components, the Civil Service of the Government and the Civil Service of the State...



Significant changes in the Leaving Certificate maths curriculum were reflected in two new textbooks produced by the Irish Christian Brothers
Congregation of Christian Brothers
The Congregation of Christian Brothers is a worldwide religious community within the Catholic Church, founded by Blessed Edmund Rice. The Christian Brothers, as they are commonly known, chiefly work for the evangelisation and education of youth, but are involved in many ministries, especially with...

. 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

The Movement organised a meeting in the Mansion House, Dublin
Mansion House, Dublin
The Mansion House on Dawson Street, Dublin, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.-Features:The Mansion House's most famous features include the "Round Room", where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence...

 on 21 September 1966. About 2000 people turned up, though most of them seemed opposed to the Movement. Opponents taunted the organisers by waving Union Jacks
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 at them. One person seized an Irish Tricolour
Flag of Ireland
The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green , white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. The flag proportion is 1:2...

 from the table used by the movement, shouting that the flag should not be displayed at such a meeting. 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.

Gardaí were present as Patrick Byrne
Patrick Byrne (Irish politician)
Patrick Byrne was an Irish politician. An accountant by profession, he was first elected to Dáil Éireann as an independent Teachta Dála for Dublin North East at a by-election on 30 April 1956. The by-election was caused by the death of his father, Alfred Byrne. In 1957 he joined Fine Gael and was...

 had requested their presence at the request of the Language Freedom Movement.

Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Máirtín Ó Cadhain was one of the most prominent Irish language writers of the twentieth century.-Career:Born in Connemara, he became a schoolteacher but was dismissed due to his IRA membership. In the 1930s he served as an IRA recruiting officer, enlisting fellow writer Brendan Behan...

 was involved in the disruption of the meeting.

See also

  • Language revival
    Language revival
    Language revitalization, language revival or reversing language shift is the attempt by interested parties, including individuals, cultural or community groups, governments, or political authorities, to reverse the decline of a language. If the decline is severe, the language may be endangered,...

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

External links

  • Clip of 7 Days from 1967 (Windows Media Player
    Windows Media Player
    Windows Media Player is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices...

    ). Report on a public meeting of the Language Freedom Movement at the Mansion House
    Mansion House, Dublin
    The Mansion House on Dawson Street, Dublin, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.-Features:The Mansion House's most famous features include the "Round Room", where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence...

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