CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - LICENCES FOR CRYSTAL RECEIVING SETS.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether, in view of the opening of the Dublin Broadcasting Station, he will consider the desirability of issuing licences for crystal receiving sets at a lower rate of licence duty than that now charged.

The Special Committee which investigated the Wireless Broadcasting Report based their financial estimate on a licence fee of £1 per set, and in the circumstances the question of a revision of the present scale must be deferred until the actual financial result of the establishment of Broadcasting Stations at Dublin and Cork has been ascertained.

The matter will be taken up for consideration at the earliest opportunity, but I am afraid that it would not be practicable to differentiate between licences for one class of receiving apparatus and another, as this would entail inspections at great cost for verification as to sets actually used.

Arising out of that answer, is the Minister aware that this question of differentiation was raised by me in the debate on the Wireless Broadcasting Committee's Report, and, therefore, it might have been under consideration for the last year or more? Will the Minister further say whether he considers it equitable that a person possessing a set which only allows for the hearing of matter broadcast from Dublin or Cork stations should pay a fee equal to that paid by a person with a set which enables that person to tap the greater part of Europe for entertainment? Is it not ridiculous to ask a person with a £2 10s. set to pay £1 in licence duty?

I am quite well aware of the facts set out by the Deputy, and the Deputy is also aware of the fact that the Broadcasting Committee which went into this matter recommended a fee of £1. I am sure the Committee had in view all the points raised by the Deputy at the time when it made its decision. I am not at present in a position to vary that charge, taking into consideration the possible effects on the taxpayer.

Would it not be better for the Minister to have five sets at 10/- each than two sets at £1 each?

I do not think that matter arises.