Posts Tagged ‘The Limits of Liberty’

Review: Part 3 of The Limits of Liberty, RTÉ1

24 June 2010

Contributed by Adrian Grant

(Review of Part 3 of The Limits of Liberty, broadcast on  RTÉ1, Tuesday 15 June, 10:15 pm.)

The concluding episode of The Limits of Liberty concentrated on the second half of the twentieth century when, Ferriter argues, Irish people were more willing directly to directly challenge the power of the state. Workers’ struggles, public protests, feminism, sexual liberation, and great changes in the legal system all feature here, though none could be pursued with great detail in a fifty minute documentary. Moreover, many other aspects of life in the second half of the twentieth century were omitted from the programme. For example, Ireland’s entry to the EEC was portrayed as a Godsend for Ireland. There was no coverage or discussion of the opposition to Ireland joining the EEC. The idea that mass collective action only emerged in the second half of the twentieth century ignores the fact that the late 1920s and 1930s saw very similar groups marching in Dublin with similar demands. The Unemployed Workers’ Committee, which was established in 1957, was very similar to the unemployed groups of previous decades. Read more

Review: Part two of The Limits of Liberty, RTÉ1

11 June 2010

Contributed by Adrian Grant

(Review of part two of The Limits of Liberty, broadcast on RTÉ 1, Tuesday 8 June, 10.15pm.)

The second instalment of The Limits of Liberty started off by looking at the massive project that was the construction of the Ardnacrusha hydro-electric dam in County Clare. Here, Ferriter rightly commended Cumann na nGaedheal for what was a great achievement. There was no mention of the striking workers on the scheme though. However, it appears that this second part of the programme had another axe to grind and Ardnacrusha was an excellent way to begin the programme. This was a symbol of a new Ireland, a self-governing Ireland that could compete on the world stage. Ardnacrusha provided the electricity for 87% of the national grid. Ferriter then gave the information that allowed the viewer a glimpse of where the film was going next. The national grid only covered 10% of the population. In 1945, only 2% of rural Ireland had electricity, at a time when Denmark had 85% coverage and the Netherlands 98%. Read More

Review: The Limits of Liberty on RTE 1

8 June 2010

Contributed by Adrian Grant

(Review of Part 1, broadcast Tuesday, 1 June, 10.15pm)

In a post on this website back in April I questioned the ability of RTE to make a decent historical documentary. However, I held out some hope that The Limits of Liberty would prove me wrong. The prospects for the series were good. Its subject matter is something that will stir the public consciousness at this time and it is co-written and presented by a competent historian. It sets out to show how successive Irish governments in the first decades of independence were preoccupied with the pursuit of centralised power. The first part of the series does not disappoint in this regard. There was no moralistic back slapping of the Cumann na nGaedheal government for its defence of democracy. Instead, Ferriter showed what is often lacking in mainstream historiography. Read more