Irish Television: The Political and Social Origins


On New Year's Eve 1961, the first broadcast of the Irish television service was made. The initial broadcast featured addresses by the President of the Republic, Eamon de Valera, and the Primate of all Ireland, Cardinal D'Alton. Both expressed concern over the effect television might have on Irish society. The dire warnings issued by both men illustrated the high level of apprehension held by many. This anxiety had been articulated by numerous organizations and interest groups since the debate over television began to take shape in the 1950s.

A number of corporations and organizations had expressed a keen interest in building and operating television stations in Ireland. Other groups stepped forward to make the case that their particular interests should be addressed in any service that might be established. From the onset, a coherent policy eluded successive governments, with the fiscally conservative Department of Finance insisting that public television was beyond the means of an under-developed economy, while the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, already responsible for the national radio service, championed a state-run system. The arguments of these and other organizations, including the Catholic Church, Irish language groups, and professional organizations, culminated in the establishment of a Television Commission to recommend public policy. After deliberating for more than a year, the Commission issued a confused and contradictory final report. As Professor Savage shows, the television service that emerged was a synthesis of these opposing positions; an Irish solution to an Irish problem. This volume will be of considerable interest to students and scholars of Ireland as well as public policy and communications.


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Pages sélectionnées

Table des matières

The Department of Finance Radio Eireann and the Origins of Irish Television
The Department of Posts and Telegraphs and the Television Committee
The Department of Finance Leon OBroin and the Television Committee
The Contribution of Sean Lemass
The Cabinet Committee
British Influence in the Development of Irish Television
The Early Work of the Irish Television Commission
Charles Michelson the Vatican and the Development of Irish Television
The Reports of the Television Commission
Droits d'auteur

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Expressions et termes fréquents

Fréquemment cités

Page viii - Acknowledgments This book would not have been possible without the help of many people.
Page xi - A persistent policy pursued over radio and television, in addition to imparting knowledge, can build up the character of a whole people, including sturdiness and vigour and confidence. On the other hand, it can lead, through demoralisation, to decadence and dissolution.
Page xi - Like atomic energy, it can be used for incalculable good but it can also do irreparable harm...
Page xii - the good, the true, the beautiful": "the masterpieces of architecture, engineering, sculpture, painting... the great musical compositions of the great composers". "I find it hard to believe," he said "that a person who views the grandeurs of the heavens, or the wonders of this marvellous world in which the good God has placed us, will not find more pleasure in that than in viewing, for example, some squalid domestic brawl or a street quarrel.
Page xi - I must admit that sometimes when I think of television and radio and their immense power I feel somewhat afraid.

À propos de l'auteur (1996)

ROBERT J. SAVAGE, JR. is a professor at Boston College where he teaches Irish History.

Informations bibliographiques