Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Fine Gael’s attack on the Irish language

March 3, 2011

In a recent policy document, Fine Gael, the party that won the recent general election in the Irish 26 counties state has declared war on the Irish language the official language of the Irish nation. They have given no reason of justification for such a destructive and reprehensible policy.  Arrogance provoked by a lack of self-worth seems to be the only motivation.

Fine Gael’s proposal in that the Irish Language (Gaeilge) should be an optional Leaving Certificate subject, this, despite the fact that a majority of the Irish people, in poll after poll, support efforts by previous governments to protect and foster its revival as an essential element of Irish culture and pride.

 It is obvious that the Irish people know something that their leaders fail to grasp, which is, that everything worthwhile takes effort and commitment and that, as in this case, replacing an essential cultural element with one taken from another culture leaves a people weak, defenseless and without a soul

 It is inconceivable that Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, a teacher and a Gaelic speaker, would associate himself with such a regressive and reprehensive policy. This policy, if enacted, would further compromise Ireland's sovereignty; as a country that forsakes it's language is dependent and not deserving to be treated as an equal. One would think that after the recent Celtic Tiger debacle that forced the Irish government to beg for financial deliverance and havens for it’s unemployed youth from other countries, would cause it to reassess its future direction, now that total dependence on foreign sources, as was the case with the Celtic Tige, has proven disastrous.

Furthermore, it is ironic that any Irish person, not alone a future government leader, would support a  policy that would weaken, if not destroy, Ireland’s native language; a language that barely survived centuries of pogroms aimed at its annihilation at the hands of a hostile and brutal occupier.

Over the millennia Gaeilge evolved into an enormously rich language that gave us the classical tales of Fionn and the Fianna, of the Táin, and the children of Lir. These Gaelic legends kept alive by generations of bards and filí brought to life the scary púcas and magical heroes that enriched the lives of Irish children down through the centuries even in the dark days of occupation and oppression. 

The late Nollaig Ó Gadhra President Emeritus of Conradh na Gaeilge warned that it would require constant diligence to keep the rebirth of Gaeilge on track because there were those in Ireland who still felt ashamed of their own heritage. He noted that there were those who felt that Gaeilge provided a rallying point for nationalistic feelings etc.

Over the centuries the English occupier viewed Gaeilge as a unifying factor that embodied the spirit and soul of the Irish people and gave them a reason and the courage to resist colonial rule, a foreign and humiliating yoke imposed by force on a proud and distinct race of people.

Pádraic Mac Piarais the leader of the 1916 Rising captured the essence of the language when he stated that “a country without a language is a country without a soul”  (Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam).

Cumann na Saoirse Náisiunta appeal to our American friends, especially those of Irish heritage who abide by the language of our forefathers, and others, who believe that all languages, including Gaeilge, should be preserved and nurtured, to contact Irish media outlets, here and in Ireland, condemning Fine Gael’s proposal to relegate the Irish language to a status that will eventually lead to its demise.


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