Written Answers. - Television Deflector Systems.

Edward Nealon

Question:

209 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Communications if he had given any undertakings to any Deputies regarding proceedings under the Broadcasting Act, 1990, against television deflector systems; and, if so, if he will outline the undertakings given.

Edward Nealon

Question:

210 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Communications if he intends to introduce amending legislation dealing with the sections in the Broadcasting Act, 1990, governing television deflector systems.

Edward Nealon

Question:

211 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Communications if his attention has been drawn to the widespread anxiety among many householders in Sligo, Mayo and other parts of the west due to the loss of television services provided through TV deflector systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Edward Nealon

Question:

212 Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Communications if the sections in the Broadcasting Act, 1990 dealing with television deflectors systems have come into operation from 1 October, 1990; if his attention has been drawn to statements from Dáil Deputies regarding an undertaking given by him that proceedings will not be taken against the operators or interceptors of T.V. deflector systems at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 209, 210, 211 and 212 together.

While I cannot and will not condone any illegal activity, and while I must emphasise that for technical reasons as well as reasons relating to Ireland's international obligations the deflector systems can have no future, it is not the intention to take action against them until an alternative legal system — whether cable or MMDS — is available.
In this regard my hope is that the vast majority of these systems will close down of their own volition as the alternative legal systems come on stream and indeed there are already indications that many of them will be willing to do so — this was broadly the experience with the "pirate" radio stations. This would mean that ultimately action would only have to be taken against the hard core who may try to remain in place when the legal alternatives are available.
I would also point out that the provisions of the Broadcasting Act, 1990, have no bearing on or relevance to the status of illegal rebroadcasting systems — deflectors — whatsoever.
The operators and those associated with illegal rebroadcasting or deflector systems are, and always have been, liable to prosecution under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts, 1926 to 1988.