This is the first book to tell the story of censorship in Northern Ireland and the south between 1922 and 1939. Censorship in the Two Irelands examines the differences in how the two regimes treated freedom of speech – and finds some surprising similarities. Beginning with the history of censorship under British rule and during the Irish Revolution it shows how the new states built on that legacy. It examines all forms of censorship in the period: political, film, literature, radio and theatre and puts them into an international context showing how the two Irelands at some times resembled other jurisdictions but also created their own unique legacies of repression.
This is the story of how a Unionist government treated Nationalist dissent, IRA propaganda and labour organisations. It compares Northern repression of these groups to southern actions against the IRA and Irish communists. It also tells how the two states reacted to foreign culture in cinema and literature. It shows how a powerful lobby of conservative, Catholic activists convinced the Irish Free State to introduce stringent censorships of film and literature. The scandalous decisions of the period, when authors like Steinbeck, Shaw and O’Faolain were banned are examined but are also put in their international context.
The most detailed study yet of the early years of censorship in the two Irelands, this work questions how serious either government really was about protecting freedom of expression. It poses challenges about how far a state should tolerate dissent, new ideas or controversial art; problems that are as relevant today as they were eighty years ago.
Table of Contents
1. Chaos 1922-24
2 Discipline 1924-29
3. Evil Literature
4. Censorship without censors: radio and theatre
5. The security blanket: political censorship 1930-39
6. See no evil, speak no evil: film censorship 1930-39
7. A laughing stock? Censorship of publications 1930-39
About the Author
Peter Martin is Lecturer in History in the School of History and Archives, University College, Dublin.