From An Claidheamh Soluis, August 13, 1904.
The Ard-Fheis concerned itself with so many different phases of League activity that one desirous of evaluating its work or underlining its decisions must necessarily take up its Agenda Paper section by section and point by point. We prefer to commence with what appears to us to have been infinitely the most important part of the programme of the Ard-Fheis, as it is infinitely the most important part of the programme of the Gaelic League itself. We refer, of course, to the vital, ever-pressing, many-sided education problem.
When all is said, the task which the language movement has set itself largely resolves itself into the recasting of Irish education along Irish lines. Had the education of the country been sane and national for the last hundred years there would never have been a necessity for the language movement: when it is made thoroughly sane and national again in all its branches the necessity for the language movement will have ceased.
The League ideal in education is, or should be, sufficiently well known. It is that education in this Irish land must be Irish. It must be Irish right through, and all along the line. It must take as its standpoint ‘This is Ireland,’ not ‘This is No-Man’s Land,’ and still less ‘This is West Britain.’ It must be based on a primary system, national not merely in name, but in fact and essence; it must include a secondary system which shall be the legitimate development of such a primary system; and it must culminate in a University which, whatever its form, and that, to us, is a matter of supreme indifference—shall in spirit and complexion, be Irish and national.
This is an ambitious programme. But the Gaelic League must carry out every line of it. To fail in a single tittle would be to fail in the League’s primary object. And the failure of the League in its primary object would be for Ireland—the Irish Ireland of our ancestors, for there is no other Ireland—the end of all things. Let us beware, then, lest we fail.
We have not gone into details this week. We prefer to once again put our educational programme before the organisation in all its largeness. During the next few weeks we shall go over in detail the lines of agitation and organisation marked out by the Ard-Fheis. In doing so we shall be largely repeating ourselves. That is a consideration which does not trouble us. The League has had from the outset clear ideas as to what it wants, and clear ideas as to how best to attain what it wants. Its work for ten years has chiefly consisted in hammering away at precisely the same propositions with which it started. And vast as is the programme which remains to be realised it has hammered, we think, to some little effect. Let us keep ‘trusting in God and hammering away’ for yet a little longer.