Protests over the planned screening of Jean-Luc Godard's controversial film 'Hail Mary' in Galway.

Plans for a screening of Jean-Luc Godard's 'Hail Mary' were met with opposition at University College Galway.

Determined to stop the film being shown, several prayer groups from around the country came together in Galway and mounted a protest at the college entrance. They argued that 'Hail Mary' is "blasphemous". The UCG Film Society was equally determined for the Irish premiere of the film to go ahead. As a result of the opposition, the UCG authorities announced that the screening would not be allowed to take place.

In a statement on the decision Joe McMahon, Secretary of the Film Society said,

We fear the possible consequences this decision could have for academic freedom and research within the university and for the cultivation of the arts in society at large.

The society endeavours to find an alternative venue for the screening to a limited audience.

English lecturer, Dr Pat Sheeran described the decision of the college authorities as,

An act of moral and intellectual cowardice

Filmmaker Bob Quinn states,

I'm quite horrified that a university should prevent the showing of a film in a place that is supposed to be the preserver of free speech.

Heated exchanges took place between those for and against the screening.

One man opposed to the screening said,

When I heard that this film was going to be shown tonight... it really disgusted me... It is in fact blasphemous pornography

Arguing that the Pope and the Vatican have spoken out against the film. He continues by saying

A society that has lost its sense of outrage... has lost its sense of morality

Those in opposition engaged in vigils of prayer and song at the college gates.

One woman comments

What we are trying to do is to prevent this filth from touching our youth.

It was later announced that there would be a private showing of the film at the home of a college lecturer.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 January 1986. The reporter is Jim Fahy.