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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 17 May 1989

Vol. 390 No. 2

Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Educational Broadcasting.


asked the Minister for Education the plans, if any, she has for developing new initiatives in educational broadcasting.

As I stated in the Dáil on 16 June 1988, progress in this area is contingent on the resources being available in view of the current heavy financial commitments in the educational sector overall.

Under the Radio and Television Act, 1988, the Independent Radio and Television Commission are empowered to set down certain criteria for the granting of broadcasting contracts. One criterion is that programmes of an educational nature must be provided, but this does not mean they must be of a pedagogical nature.

Has the Minister had any communications with the independent commission with a view to finding out how they propose to give effect to that? Can she tell us whether they gave effect to it and whether the various stations that have obtained franchises intend to offer an educational service, formal or otherwise?

I anticipate they intend to operate within the statutory remit which would have been given to them under the Radio and Television Act, 1988. I have no reason to believe they will not do so. The nature of the educational programmes would be a matter for them, but under one of the criteria they must have educational programmes.

That is a bald statement in the Act. I asked whether the Minister had entered into any communication with the commission to see to what extent they would elaborate on that as they interviewed the various applicants. Did she do that?

They are an independent radio and television commission and I understand they are at present going around the country taking depositions and submissions from various interested bodies who wish to put forward proposals for radio and television. Perhaps when they have completed that work I can arrange a meeting with them, but I do not usually want to run around telling people their business. The law has been passed by the Oireachtas, the preparatory work is being done and I am sure they will take account of their statutory requirements.

In view of the enormous task facing us to catch up with other European countries in fluency in modern European languages, was any effort made by the Minister to harness the TV service to the broadcasting of French or German or other programmes in modern European languages on the lines of TV5 as is being done in Cork by multichannel at the moment?

There are further questions dealing with that subject matter. Question No. 11.

The Minister was not in touch with the broadcasting commission——

It is not my intention to do so.

——even to get the franchise for a friend.

In our Government we happen to feel that when you set up a body and make them independent you let them run their affairs.