From The Irish Volunteer, June 6, 1914.
Five months ago I hailed the Irish Volunteers as a development of the language movement and not a departure from it. It is for us of the Gaelic League who are Volunteers to see to this. Because we have become Volunteers we must not cease to be Gaelic Leaguers. Our years in the Gaelic League will have gone for nothing and less than nothing, unless we carry our Gaelic League faith and practice into the larger National movement we are now helping to build up. It is for such an opportunity as this we have been watching for years – an opportunity to bring the language out of the classrooms into Irish life. Here is life surging around us, life more multitudinous and vociferous than there has been in the Ireland of our time. If we cannot make Irish to some extent the vehicle in which this new life will express itself, then the language movement has been so far a failure.
There are one or two simple maxims which will help us to Gaelicise the Volunteer movement. First and chiefly, two Volunteers who know Irish should never, under any conceivable circumstances, converse together in English. It is a base thing for any Irish speaker, in the present pass of the language, to use English without very dire need. Irish Volunteers talking English present as great an incongruity as would Irish Volunteers marching under the English Flag. Our language is our truest and most unmistakeable flag. It is time for us to fling it to the breeze. The force of example will do more to Gaelicise the Volunteer ranks than any rules the Provisional Committee might adopt. The movement must come upwards from the Irish speakers in the ranks rather than downward in the shape of orders promulgated at Headquarters. But, of course, the men at Headquarters, who know Irish (and there are so many of us that do that we were able to conduct the first meeting of the Provisional Committee almost entirely in Irish), must be model Volunteers in this as, I hope, they are in other respects.
Next, we must get our words of command into Irish, and give our instructors an opportunity of learning them. Obviously, the early drill of a squad or company containing a majority of non-Irish speakers must be done in English, but as soon as the recruits have learned the elements of drill they will easily stand the transition from English to Irish. I know this because I have seen the thing done with school boys.
Again, we must publish a list in Irish of the technical terms used in military science and practice and familiarise ourselves with them. Most of the terms exist and there will be very little coining to be done.
Finally, in giving territorial designations to our regiments, we must, as far as possible, adopt historical Irish names rather than recent English ones. We need not be too precise, but only as precise as is –. Thus, the North County Dublin Regiment will be the Fingal Regiment, the South County Dublin Regiment, the Cuala Regiment, the County Waterford Regiment, the Decies Regiment, and so on.
I have been away from Ireland for three months and have not seen every number of the “Irish Volunteer.” It may, therefore, very well be that I have here been repeating what someone else has already said. In that case I can only plead that it needed repetition.