Éire - An Conradh Ceilteach

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Éire (Ireland) remains divided. The Civil War of 1922-23, which some term a counter-revolution, set the tone for the following century. An alliance of state, Church and big business and large farmers quashed any hope of radical change. Practicing an economic nationalism, within the strictures of capitalism, the state’s economy remained largely stagnant, despite some investment in indigenous industries. In the 1930s, the Twenty-Six Counties faced an economic war with the UK in the 1930 when Land Annuities were withheld. The 1950s was a decade of massive emigration, with some 50,000 people a year leaving, many of them helping to rebuild post-War Britain. In reaction to economic stagnation, and following in the mould of many post-colonial states, new economic programmes were devised in the 1960s which sought to attract foreign capital. This improved the situation somewhat by stymying the flow of emigration and generating some optimism. But the over-reliance on this low tax Foreign Direct Investment model has produced an imbalance in the economy with an over-reliance on multinationals, particularly for the US. In turn, this has wedded the state to US imperialist interests.

Throughout the twentieth century housing was poor, although mass building of council housing did take place in the 1930s and 1950s under Fiann Fáil governments. However, many slums remained. In the 1960s direct-action groups such as the Dublin Housing Action Committee emerged. There were many social problems and issues to be addressed.

In 1973 the Republic joined the EEC. This was opposed by many who saw it as an abandonment of Irish independence (benefiting only the agricultural sector and big farmers) and which subsequent Treaty changes (Nice and Maastricht) entrenched.

In the 1980s hard times and emigration returned, this time to countries much more distant. The answer to these problems, many in government believed, was the deregulation of the economy, particularly banking. This would offer plenty of cheap credit to buoy the economy. In tandem with worldwide booms in technology and pharmaceuticals a local so-called “Celtic Tiger” boom emerged, much of it built on the sand of over-extended mortgages on property. Consequently, the late 2000s saw a worldwide recession was exacerbated in Ireland as the Dublin Government sacrificed its citizens and lumbered the country with a debt of €63 Billion euros rather than  default on EU (largely German) bondholders. A policy of austerity was introduced to pay for these bailouts, filtering wealth from ordinary people upwards to pay for the banking debt of the super-rich. In the mid-2010s an anti-austerity movement which had been bubbling under the surface for a number of years through the anti-Bin Charges, anti-Property Tax campaigns gained major traction with the anti-Water Tax movement. The movement was one of the only rays of light on the socio-economic front with the government having to shelve plans to introduce the tax.

Now, however, the people of the state are wracked by the cost-of-living crisis, housing costs and lack of housing, excessive rents and lack of suitable and affordable rental accommodations affecting not only many families but also third level students. Provision of an adequate level of health care is also threatened with many young hospital doctors quitting and emigrating to countries where working conditions are better, while teacher shortages cause chaos throughout the education system.

The Irish language, Gaeilge, has a broad base in the Republic. Some 1.7 Million people stated in the latest (2016) Census returns that they could speak Irish. However, the number of people who use Irish on a daily basis is dramatically lower with only 73,803 using. A large proportion of these would be in schools. The language is a necessary subject up to Leaving Cert. level.

Despite the sterling efforts of the Gaeltacht Civil rights since the late sixties and its successor community organisation there has been a continual decline in numbers speaking Irish in the designated Gaeltacht areas, with some local activists putting the figure as low as 30,000 across all areas. Between 2011 and 2016 many Gaeltacht areas, as a result of austerity and enforced emigration, saw the number of daily speakers decline by 10% and more, thus threatening the linguistic survival of these areas.

An Official Languages Act was passed in 2003 which compels all public bodies to provide services in the Irish language. However, many bodies ignore this, and the Irish Language Commissioner has reported on this regularly.

Irish was declared an official language of the EU in 2007 (the only Celtic language that far to get such recognition). This did not result from Government action but was achieved after a long activist campaign.

There have been some positive developments in modern media with the first mobile phones with Irish as a menu option on them being offered by Samsung in 2008.

The Irish Language TV station TG4 continues to flourish. In addition to Raidió na Gaeltachta (available on Internet also) there is now Raidió na Life in Dublin and Raidió Fáilte in Belfast.

A particular success story was the growth of Irish medium primary and second level schools. This was aided by the organisation Gaelscoileanna, founded in 1973. In the last decade of the last century there were 5 -6 primary schools staring every year. However, as the Department of Education took steps to curtail this growth it is now difficult to get permission to start new schools. A re-energised movement willing to take risks, and act outside the parameters set down by the state as the early founders did, is much needed.

In the North, the language was effectively outlawed in schools until the 1990s. Despite this there were significant developments in Belfast with the founding of a Gaeltacht area (Shaw’s Rd), followed by a primary school and a second level school (there is now numerous primary schools throughout Belfast and the Six Counties, while a Naíonra and GAA club has been established in the staunchly Unionist East Belfast, a sign of a changing landscape in the North).

Chairperson of the Éire Branch: Cathal Ó Luain

Secretary of the Éire Branch: Kerron Ó Luain
Subscriptions: cluasai@gmail.com


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Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilg

Activities Of The Irish Branch Over The Years

  • Engaging in correspondence in the national media and Dáil representatives on a range of issues to increase Inter Celtic consciousness and provide information about the other Celtic countries.
  • Organisation of pickets and demonstrations at the French Embassy in support of Brittany and Bretons such as Yann Ber ar Mat who was imprisoned for refusing compulsory French military service or the Bretons who were held for years without trial.
  • Organisation of summer schools in Ireland for Celts from other countries. sometimes in conjunction with local co-operatives (Cape Clear Island, Connemara, Dublin).
  • Organisation of trips to the Isle of Man to get to know the country and its political and language activists.
  • Organisation of an evening of Manx poetry and dance and bringing of Manx musicians to Club an Chonradh for Manx/Irish traditional music and song session on day trips. Organisation of general Inter Celtic sessions when possible.

Colin and Cristl Jerry (seen here with their family) performed at  a concert organised by the Irish Branch (1976) on their way to the Lorient Interceltic Festival, they organised Manx groups going to the festival for over twenty years.

  • Representation on meetings of the Irish Office of the European Bureau for Lesser Spoken Languages (which was unfortunately replaced by a body composed of State Language Boards, thereby doing away with voluntary organisations input) 
  • Organisation of joint demonstrations at Irish Government buildings and the British Embassy with language organisations such as Conradh na Gaeilge and Cymdeithas ir Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) in support of demands for language rights. 
  • Cymuned speakers from Cymru invited to the Connemara Gaeltacht for a joint seminar (with local language and community activists) on Housing problems, in migration and remedies in Welsh speaking areas in Cymru and in the Gaeltacht in Ireland. 
  • Bringing speakers from the Celtic political movements (SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Mec Vannin, etc.) in other countries to Ireland to outline their political situations and aspirations. Supported by TCD ‘Celtic Alliance’. Lectures on Breton and Cornish history, culture, and language.


  • Organised visit (Dec.1990, 6 Sr. Fhearchair) of Dr. Brian Y Stoyll to give a lecture ‘Oileán Mhanann agus an Mhananainis sa Lá Inniu’ (The Isle of Man and the Manx Language Today) followed by a session of Manx Music and Song in Club an Chonradh.
  • Celtic League, Seminar in Dublin with CND (Ireland) and Greenpeace (Ireland) Pollution in the Irish Sea 
  • Supporting the Peace and Neutrality organisation 
  • Attendance of Irish branch members at the Llewellyn (last Prince of Wales) commemoration in Cilmeri, Cymru. 
  • Support for the Convenor for attendance at UNESCO/ PEN conference on the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights in Barcelona which was hosted by the CIEMEN organisation and funded by the Catalan Government. The Declaration was sign by the Convenor on behalf of the League and written submission made 
  • Publishing occasions and launches such as that for ‘The Black Paper on Irish Education’ (a joint publication of Craobh na dTeicneolaithe, Conradh na Gaeilge, and the Irish Branch CL). 
  • Launches of ‘‘For a Celtic Future” (a Zeitscrift) published by the League in honour of Alan Heussaff, Editor Cathal Ó Luain) in both Mannin and Éire in 1983. 
  • Launch and reception of CARN 100 (in Club an Chonradh in 1997), which contained a special poetry supplement in all Celtic languages, and at which launch poems were read in all the Celtic languages. 
  • Supporting the campaigns of the Celtic League such as the Military Monitoring Campaign and giving TV and Radio interviews on TG4 etc addressing specific aspects of these. 
  • Implementation of Celtic League AGM resolutions and ensuring Irish Branch representation and participation with submission of resolutions at all AGMs. 
  • Liaison with and support of events organised by Breizh Éire and Welsh Society in Ireland, Draig Weryd. 
  • Supplying material on political, current affairs, language, and cultural matters for the Irish section of CARN magazine and previous League publications.
  • Participation In the Festival of Flags Bratacha – in Dún Laoghaire 2013. Organisation of lecturers on the history of their flags from the different Celtic Countries and participation by them in a special Celtic Flags section in the concluding International Parade of Flags.

Bratacha International Flag Festival: see www.celticleague.net (May 2013) for more details – YouTube

Supply of flags of the Celtic Nations for the permanent exhibition of International flags in the Mariners Church, Dún Laoire.

Celtic League participate in the Parade of Flags
CL Presenters of Lectures on the Celtic Nations Flags at the Festival.
  • Organising a trip to Edinburgh to assist and partake in the Independence Rally First demonstration. (2014)
  • Organising lectures in 2014 by Allan Armstrong (Scottish activist in the Radical Independence Campaign, and the Republican Socialist Platform) in Dublin and in Belfast, with Tommy McKearney, on Scottish Independence.
  • Showing support for arrested Catalonian Independence leader in 2017 by protesting to the Spanish Ambassador and partaking in a Catalonian support rally at the GPO in Dublin.
  • Organising a 1916 Rising Commemoration ceremony and parade at the 1916 plot in 2016 with participation from the other CL countries. Participation in the Frongoch 1916 Commemoration in Cymru. Arranging lectures by Stevie Coyle on the IRA in Scotland during the Black and Tan War and Lyn Ebenezer author of Frongoch Camp 1916 and the birth of the IRA in Dublin.