asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will name the areas in the country where television reception is deemed to be unsatisfactory; and if he will outline the plans for improving this situation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Television Reception.
About 98 per cent of the population can receive RTE television programmes but there are many areas throughout the country where reception is not fully satisfactory. It is not possible to give precise details of all the areas involved, some of which contain only a few houses. The main areas where reception is below the national average are parts of Counties Clare, Cork, Donegal, Kerry, Louth, Tipperary, Waterford and Wicklow. In addition viewers in areas served by the Maghera transmitter suffer interference at times from Spanish and Swedish stations particularly during the summer.
RTE have drawn up a programme which is being financed by advances from the Exchequer for improving reception in these areas. However, owing to the heavy programme of capital works RTE are facing over the next few years and the varied demands on scarce capital, it will probably be four to five years before the programme is completed. Even then there will be some small pockets where, owing to unusual topographical configuration reception will still be a problem.
Omitting topographical considerations is the Minister aware that there are areas where reception is poor spasmodically due to frequent breakdowns? These breakdowns could be repaired at small cost but there seems to be no system whereby they can be speedily remedied.
The provision of a remedy for this kind of thing comes under the general plan. If the Deputy would care to give me particulars of individual cases where he thinks something should be done, I will be glad to get RTE to look into them.
Is the Minister aware of the discontent in many areas where there is poor television reception and of the apparent neglect by himself and his Department? While other issues are being raised by him, the areas concerned for the most part have no television reception.
The Deputy will appreciate that this is no new problem. It has prevailed for many years in the past. An effort is now being made, through the provision of £1 million from the Exchequer, to remedy the deficiencies which existed for many years and were not set right previously. With the help of the Government RTE are moving as fast as they reasonably can.
Which is not fast enough.
(Dublin Central): Since the head of the Government Information Services is being appointed as assistant to the Director, will he direct his attention to the parts of the country where reception is not good?
It is not my understanding that that will be part of his functions.
What will his functions be?