Eamon de Valera fear of Televisions

In my previous post i was discussing Censorship in Ireland. Last week in my Irish Literature class we discussed the ways new developments of technologies such as television broadcasting and radio broadcasting were received by the Irish government and particularly the president at the time Eamon de Valera.

The first television broadcast in Ireland was in 1961. Eamon de Valera, who was president at the time had the honor to be the first person to speak on the service. The great president used his time to speak about the fears and also the hopes he held with the introduction of this new service. he leads with telling us he is privileged to be the first person on the Irish service but then leads to discuss how when he thinks of

‘television and radio and their immense power I feel somewhat afraid’.

The fear De Valera was talking about was obviously not in relation to a box with an aerial of course but more towards his dread of the change Ireland was undergoing. The introduction of television and radio meant that the Irish household could now be influenced by the voices that he nor the Irish government could control. The terror that these foreign ideas would taint the Ireland they fought for.

The Irish government was too concerned with what they wanted Ireland to be and the fact that these devices could be accessed by a vast amount of homes throughout the country is what they were afraid of. 

When i think of all the ways we can access people’s ideas today with Facebook, twitter and so on,  I can only imagine that De Valera would be petrified.

I’ve attached a link here where you can watch the first Irish television broadcast. Enjoy!

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Censorship in Ireland from 1929 to 1972

This week in my Irish Literature class we learned about censorship in Ireland after we had become a free state. This was something i had not really gave much thought to as it is not really a problem here today.

In 1929, which was just seven years after Ireland gained its independence, a law was brought in known as Censorship of Publications Act, 1929. This act prohibited the publication of a range of texts such as book, advertisements, films, newspapers and magazines which discussed important social topics such as Catholic morality, abortion and birth control, homosexuality and sex.

It is clear that the Irish Government did not want these issues discussed by the people. it was a drastic measure they took in trying to prevent the Irish from ‘being lead a stray’ and an attempt to purify them.

This act effected a lot of Irish writers as their content was banned. in fact famous writers such as Frank O’Connor and Kate O’Brien who’s works were banned in Ireland during this time. This restricted many peoples ability to make a living from writing so it left many with two options, either immigrate to places such as Spain and the United Kingdom, or to give up writing altogether.

I think its insane that the Irish government were able to stop the people from discussing vital social concepts and were forced to keep quite. Nowadays I think the Irish would fight a lot harder for their freedom of speech. Even now Ireland is fighting to repeal the 8th amendment which is the constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland. So I think we have grown up in the sense that we know what we should be entitles to as a nation and are more willing to stand up for ourselves