The position of Irish on the airwaves now and through recent history has always been closely linked to the strength of the language in society, its position in public opinion and national language policy and the place of the state-owned broadcaster and its subsidiary channels within the broadcasting domain. Government legislation regulates the private and voluntary sectors, which may also receive indirect state subsidies for Irish language programming. It is therefore impossible to separate the status and development of Irish in the broadcast media from the shifting nature of the state's relationship with the language and the people who speak it. This article discusses the development of Irish broadcast media since the foundation of the state in the context of language policy. It argues that the Irish government has moved from a leading role in the early part of the 20th century in which Irishwas central to all social, educational and economic policies, through a series of transformations that reflected the socioeconomic development and Europeanisation of the State, to the present. At present, the government increasingly manages Irish as a minority and heritage issue, a marginalisation which provides great dangers and yet many new opportunities for Irish language broadcasters.