Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 17 Feb 1966

Vol. 60 No. 16

Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill, 1965: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Last night I showed that the total cost to the people of Telefís Éireann is not the licence fee alone. It is at least four or five times that amount when you make appropriate allowance for the cost of the rental of sets, their maintenance and so on. Therefore, the service is costing the Irish people at least £8 million a year and, in such circumstances, it is indeed very degrading that we should place so much emphasis on advertising: on the one hand having all these irritating interruptions of programmes when these doors open and close, and on the other, having many questionable advertisements allowed on our screens—questionable both from the point of view of what they are trying to sell and their general impact.

The most serious one of all is the drink advertising. That brings in, at most, £200,000 a year. Is it not ridiculous that for the sake of £200,000 in a gross expenditure of £8 million, we are prepared to have this insidious encouragement, day in, day out, to our young sons of 17 and 18 years, this insidious effort to get the message across to them that they are not smart, not with the present age, if they are not able to take their drink as the men drink on Telefís Éireann and if they are not able to take their lady friends into the bars as is shown on Telefís Éireann to be the smart thing to do, she for a glass and he for a pint?

This is a case of the tail wagging the dog. In this very sacred year for us, 50 years after 1916, have we sunk so low that for £200,000 in a total of £8 million, we are prepared to lay the seeds of future alcoholism in our youth? If this were responsible for only 50 youths a year becoming alcoholics who would not otherwise become alcoholics, surely it should be cut out immediately? Therefore, I ask the Minister and the Government, as the greatest contribution they can make to the spirit of 1916, to outlaw drink advertising from Telefís Éireann. It is sufficient for the various firms to advertise their products in the newspapers where the message has not got anything like the same impact, the same allure, as the Telefís Éireann message has.

To go on to other aspects of the operations of Telefís Éireann, I think we all agree that by and large the best feature has been their sports coverage. As a nation very interested in sport of various types, we can all congratulate them heartily on their coverage. Their commentators are second to none and the camera work has been excellent. There are, however, a few queries we can put in this respect.

We have been delighted to see the coverage given to the Wembley and White City horse jumping, especially when some of our own riders were in action, but why not give the same coverage to the Dublin Horse Show? We get the Aga Khan Cup event live. Why are the other events not filmed? I do not ask they should be relayed live because I think it would be wrong to take our people away from their work to spend the afternoons viewing the jumping at the RDS. However, they could be presented at night for an hour, bringing to our people pictures of the wonderful competitions that are always held at the Dublin Horse Show.

Last year I was privileged, with some friends, to be at the show on the concluding day when the individual championships were on and I saw the enthusiasm of the crowd as Ireland's Tommy Wade did battle with Miss Kusner of the USA. That was a competition that everyone down the country would love to have seen at least for half an hour that evening, but all we got was just a brief sports-flash. Something better should be done on that.

I should like to appeal for the many people especially in the rural areas who appreciate racing. In fact Irish farmers dearly love to see a good horse race; yet the coverage given to Irish horse-racing has been very inadequate. This is a feature in American television, that you have a round-up of the local racing of the day for half an hour and the whole thing presented in the evening. The farmers and others would appreciate very much a feature between 10 and 10.30 p.m. or at some such time showing races held that day. It would certainly be far more interesting to them than some of the canned programmes. Again I am not advocating live shows because I do not think it is a fitting occupation for any able bodied man to be slouched in an armchair for the afternoon looking at racing, or indeed at any other sport, apart from a little on Saturday afternoon, but on the other hand, I cannot see any objection whatsoever to giving extended coverage to these events as a special feature in the evening or a day or two afterwards.

We cannot fail to detect a fair amount of inverted provincialism in certain reports of sports. The most recent example I saw was in a soccer Cup match in Cork between Shamrock Rovers and Cork Hibernians, where Cork Hibernians were the underdogs and surprised everybody by drawing the match one all. The goal shown on Telefís Éireann was not the one scored by Cork Hibs: it was the one by Shamrock Rovers. In general we have a feeling that this is quite characteristic.

To turn to something more serious than sports, we take, for instance, the latest series heralded very much in our papers, from which we have come to expect a great deal. This is the course on Irish history, the new television series of 21 lectures, the joint editors being Reverend Father Martin of UCD and Professor T.W. Moody of Trinity College, Dublin. This is very timely and very well worthwhile —21 lectures starting from the beginning, prehistoric Ireland, right up to Ireland since the Treaty, covering the whole span. There are 21 lecturers, but from that 21 you would think that Ireland began and ended at the Pale; 50 miles outside there is nothing but prairie, because of the 21 lecturers, nine are from University College, Dublin, seven are from Trinity College, Dublin, one from Maynooth College, one from University College, Galway, one from Magee College, two from England, and none from University College, Cork, where we have three chairs of history. Could inverted provincialism have been worse?

Yet even in this roster I detect a very significant omission from the personnel in University College, Dublin, because the Professor of Irish history in University College, Dublin, is none other than the well-known and highly respected Professor Dudley Edwards. He is not on the list; neither is Professor Desmond Williams on that list, nor Dr. Kevin Nolan. Why? There is something very strange in this. Again, we have Irish history beginning with a great deal of archaeology — prehistoric Ireland, and so on. Surely when it comes to archaeology, the outstanding man in the country is the man we are fortunate to have in University College, Cork, Professor Brian O'Kelly, who has never been asked to lecture on Telefís Éireann but has lectured frequently and with great success on the BBC, and has been the subject of a royal invitation to Sweden, where he lectured before the society there with the king and queen present. That is the quality of the man we have got; yet he is just ignored.

Professor Seamus Pender occupied the chair of Irish history in UCC, and the tradition of history in Cork has always been nationalist, spearheaded by the late Professor James Hogan who when men were needed in the 1916 period was there to play a man's part. On behalf of my colleagues, I register the strongest possible protest at this Pale-ism that has taken charge of this course.

Washington has been renowned for its ghost writers; in Hollywood film stars have their stand-ins; but Telefís Baile Átha Cliath has insisted that of all those Irish university authorities listed here, not one, believe it or not, is considered able to present his own material in the course. A professional newsreader must give the course. I am not, for one moment, criticising the readers concerned but I am saying that it is astounding that outstanding university people are not capable of speaking to an audience on television. Surely the Irish people, or anybody here listening to this course are just as interested in seeing who is the man who is presented as being an authority on this. One is just as interested in seeing the man himself and getting the impact of his personality as one is of listening to what he has to say. Yet, what he has to say comes across to you via a professional newscaster, via the tele-promoter. Surely artificialism cannot go much further than that? Personally, I can assure Telefís Éireann that if that is the way they want Irish academics to behave, they need not ask my colleagues or myself to take part in such a degrading procedure.

We can go, from this inverted professionalism or Pale-ism, whatever you want to call it, to some of the other features. For instance, take the drama department. Again, there has been a great deal of justified criticism of the third-class type of English plays that have been featured very often.

The Chair suggests to the Senator that much of this discussion is not appropriate on this Bill.

We have been given an opportunity on the Bill itself of reviewing five years' activity. I am just making the general point that the drama department itself would be far better to insist on our Irish productions and eliminate some of the very objectionable type of English plays where there is too much unnecessary vulgarity and profanity.

The Chair wishes to suggest again that discussion in such detail is not appropriate on this Bill.

I bow to your ruling on that. I am just endeavouring to take the principles and to illustrate them by way of slight examples. I want to endorse strongly what Senator O'Quigley said at great length last night about the impact of "Newsbeat". I agree wholeheartedly with him that it is very poor compared with what it replaced, the "Broadsheet" programme. There was great public outcry on its replacement; yet nothing has been done to improve the quality of its substitute. That should be seen to.

Let us now take the facet of Telefís Éireann that concerns us very much here, that is, its impact on the political scene. I refer to the political commentaries. This is something we have to keep under very close review because the political commentators who have appeared in GAA clothes, "The Hurler on the Ditch", have been given a place of importance in this country altogether out of keeping with a democratic country. No other democracy that I know of, the USA, England or any of the smaller European countries, would allow a small group to get into their hands the power to make and break politicians and to make and break Governments that Telefís Éireann have given to the political commentators here. I am not saying that by way of criticism of the commentators and the work they have been doing up to this. That is irrelevant, but what concerns us is the power they have been given and the potential they have to make or break Governments. In fact, I think it is responsible, in great measure, for the lack of criticism in the Dáil of their programme. In fact, it was not lack of criticism but praise that was given because it showed that the political Parties are acutely aware of the danger in which they stand and the power which such a panel can wield over them.

There has been criticism here and I think rightly so, that frequently they are shown on the panel as being out of touch with what is happening, that they do not exactly appreciate the difference between an incomes policy and a manpower policy as recent commentaries show. Very frequently we find them discussing affairs in the Seanad. I have very rarely seen any of those five august personages here. I think, if affairs in the Seanad are to be discussed in such a context, it is the Press representatives who sit through the debates here who should do the job. In other words, if this is to be continued, it should be diversified. There is far too close a tie-up between this and the "Backbencher" column in the Irish Times. I do not know whether the Christy Ring of the hurlers is the same as “Backbencher”.

The Senator is going far outside the scope of this Bill.

Surely I can point to the greatest danger I see that threatens democracy in this country?

The Senator is entitled to do that but he is still going far outside the scope of this Bill.

Again, I echo what many speakers said here last night. The fact is that active politicians in the Dáil and the Seanad should be given the opportunity of meeting these commentators on television and to answer back at the time the points are made, instead of having to try to catch up on them afterwards. It would bring more realism to the contribution if there were one person from each of the political Parties and one from the Independents present at one and the same time, or at different times, so that there could be a round table discussion with these people.

I think the time has come when both Houses and Telefís Éireann should consider very seriously the televising of part of the debates. That is the proper way to show the people of the country how the affairs of Parliament are conducted, and enable them to hear the case as put by the various speakers. It would be very instructive and enlightening and the people would find that many of the things which fail to make newspaper headlines are of real significance, but, very often, remain buried in the Reports of the Dáil and Seanad. I appeal for reconsideration of this. Let us take the public into our debates and let them see democracy in action.

I might point to one effect television obviously has had on the political life of this country: it has been the main cause of Mr. James Dillon's loss of popularity and leadership. I think it has been very unfair to a great statesman, one of our finest, if not the finest parliamentarian we have had the pleasure of listening to in these Houses, and a great Irishman. Yet, television has been responsible for his fall from power.

The Senator is even more innocent than I thought.

Seeing that I cannot go into as great detail as I should like on many other facets of the operation of television, I shall conclude by proposing to the Minister and to the Government that they take immediate steps to recognise the vocational character and the great potential of Seanad Éireann, by setting up here a Special Committee charged with keeping a watching-brief on the activities of Telefís Éireann and with having frequent meetings with the Director-General and staff, thereby being in a position to channel the views and objections of their constituents to the Television Authority and to hear from the Authority firsthand their answers to these objections. If that Committee are not satisfied with the answers, they should be able to take the only remedy available to them, that is, acquaint the public of what they consider should be done. I ask the Government to take immediate steps in this regard and also to take immediate steps to end the alluring advertising of alcoholic drinks on our television screens, and to get away from this appalling operation of the service as Telefís Baile Átha Cliath.

First of all, I should like to say a word of welcome to the Minister on his first attendance here in the House, and I am glad that the occasion was brought about by the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill. He, quite rightly, remarked in the course of his speech that the small number of changes which have been made in the Act of 1960 is a tribute to the work, thought and attention which the Seanad put into the original Bill at that time. He said that all who took part in that work were worthy of congratulation. I was very glad to hear that because that Broadcasting Authority Bill of 1960 was so well dealt with in the Seanad that, when it went to the Dáil, only four amendments were made to it, three of which, in fact, were inspired by the Seanad debates. Like Senator O'Reilly and, I am sure, other Senators, I am very sorry that this Bill did not originate in the Seanad also. We would have been well able to handle it in the same way as we did the original Bill, and it would have had an equally satisfactory fruit. I suggest to the Minister, now that he is here, that in any further legislation appertaining to this matter—since we have delivered the goods—it might be considered right and proper to originate Bills of this type in the Seanad.

The Minister also mentioned something to which we referred in that original debate, that is the need for proper accommodation for the sound broadcasting service. I am very glad to note that the plans for the development of the Donnybrook site include the provision of proper accommodation for the sound broadcasting service. Radio Eireann staff technicians and artists, in my opinion, performed an almost miraculous job in the cramped spaces they occupied down in O'Connell Street and the provision of proper accommodation for that service is long since overdue. That is one of the good things we have in prospect as a result of this progress made by the RTE during the past three years.

Also good news is the Minister's assurance that the VHF network will be in operation by the autumn; that in fact, the first transmitter will be on the air in April. Because of the inability of our people to get permission to increase the kilowatt power of the Athlone transmitter, this VHF system seems to be the only solution of the problem of isolated pockets where radio reception is very poor, particularly the islands around our coast. I hope the Minister was not overoptimistic in promising us this network of transmitters in the autumn. I remember, when his predecessor was introducing the 1960 Bill, he also had hopes that the VHF network would be in operation in a relatively short time. I hope the Minister's optimism is well grounded in this respect.

Incidentally, while on that subject, something seems to have gone wrong with the power of the Radio Éireann transmitter. I have, on occasion, found the reception deteriorating in areas where it was formerly very strong— places like Liverpool and the Welsh coast, with people in which I have been in correspondence. Where reception from the Athlone transmitter was very satisfactory there now seems to be a complete weakening of the signal. I am told also that down in Cork when the protagonists of Cork football want to hear a report——

Who would they be now?

——on their radio sound system, they have to look to the Cork transmitter rather than Athlone because of a similar situation arising there. It would be well if the Minister had an examination made to ascertain what has happened.

We all agree with the Minister that the RTE Authority deserve congratulation on the continued satisfactory outcome of their efforts. I do not think the magnitude of the achievement which we are talking about here today is appreciated by many people. In 1960, when this broadcasting authority was set up and told to go ahead with the provision of a television service. very few people realised the tremendous technical difficulties: the vast amount of equipment that had to be got, the crews that had to be trained, the new techniques that had to be learned, the very grave difficulties of providing home-produced programmes, the scarcity of trained personnel for television acting. All those difficulties were not appreciated at the time and many people thought it would be quite simple to get the service going.

Now when we realise what had to be overcome and how rapidly they have made progress, we can appreciate the almost miraculous event which has occurred in the provision of such an excellent Irish television service. One point that struck me when reading their report was that in the first full year of operation they actually produced 2,200 hours of television. That was in the first full year from March, 1962, to March, 1963. That, indeed, was a spectacular achievement. Unfortunately we had to rely on imported material for 1,210 hours, or 55 per cent of the total output in that year. It was a remarkable achievement that we were able to produce so much home-based and home-originated material.

Steady progress has been made in the organisation and arrangement of home-produced programmes and the corner was well turned last year, and turned in our favour. While the total output increased only slightly to 2,346 hours, the home-produced programmes increased to 1,253 hours, or 54 per cent of the total. Imported programmes went down to just over 1,000 hours, or 46 per cent of the total. In other words, more than half the total output on our television screens is now home-produced and originating in Ireland. To my mind, that is a remarkable achievement. If this progress continues, it should be possible in a very few years to be able to do without quite an amount of the canned fill-ins which we have to put up with at the moment, because of our inability to fill in the whole time with home-originated programmes. However, we will always have a certain amount of foreign programmes and so long as they are of good quality and high standard, no one can object.

One thing I remember from the discussions on the Bill in 1960, was the suggestion that we might have advisory committees in connection with the television service. I do not know what happened to that suggestion. I do not recollect the outcome, but I know I was particularly interested in having such a committee which would act more or less as an ombudsman for RTE, which would keep innocuous or stupid queries from taking up the time of people who have more to do, which could be approached for information or to make complaints, and which would ensure that whatever information was required was given, and whatever complaints were received were properly dealt with. I should like the Minister to deal with that when he is replying. He might give me that information.

We had an extraordinary outburst from Senator Garret FitzGerald who put on a performance last night which I think was unequalled for audacity and for a pretended lack of knowledge of one of the important matters about which he spoke. I should like to put the record right in regard to that matter. Senators will recall that he tried to create a panic: "a new terror stalking the land"; "sensational action by the RTE Authority following the Dáil debate". He said that the Authority have stated that they would ensure that no unbalanced discussion will take place on the national language aims. Those were his words as I took them down.

Senator Garret FitzGerald was as well able to quote the rest of what the Authority said, and why they said it, as I am. The fact that he did not do so leads me to the belief that he deliberately wanted to create the impression that this was something unique, something which had never happened before, something about which the country should be suspicious, and that the minority hostile to the Irish language should immediately don their armour, get out their sabres, and into the battle. No such thing. To ensure that there is no misunderstanding, I should like to inform the Seanad what this is all about. A series of directions in the form of a statement were issued by the RTE Authority to their staff, for their guidance in relation to the use of the Irish language in television and sound broadcasting. The most important paragraph reads as follows:

Radio Éireann—Telefís Éireann has a national responsibility to nurture the Irish language by presenting it in a sympathetic, positive and imaginative way.

Paragraph 2 reads:

The broadcasting service will increasingly help to build a better public consciousness of national identity by means of programmes on the history and culture of Ireland.

Following that introduction are the words which Senator Garret FitzGerald did not quote. The phraseology in which the Authority issued this statement is as follows:

The Authority will endeavour to ensure (i) that the service is not used to present unbalanced discussion on the national aim of restoring Irish.

There is quite a difference between what is there and what was said by Senator FitzGerald. Senator FitzGerald gave a concrete example of the commonsense of the RTE Authority in issuing this statement for the guidance of their members when he cited what happened to him and to me on the "Late Late Show" about 12 months ago. I am afraid he did not quite give the facts of the situation and since he raised the matter, I think it advisable that I should do so, as an example of what the Director-General of the RTE Authority will have to contend with if the Authority are to implement the instruction issued to all members of the staff to carry out section 17 of the 1960 Act to the best of their ability.

Senator FitzGerald spoke about the panel being moulded with great care in the ratio of five to one in favour of the Irish language on this Late Late Show. Let me tell the Seanad what happened. The Páipéar Bán on the Government's proposals for the restoration of the Irish language was published on the Thursday and the various people who took part in the programme were contacted by telephone on the Friday and were told this was the first programme which enabled a discussion to be held on the Páipéar Bán. They were told it would be on the air on Saturday night and were asked if they would take part in it. The people contacted included the Director-General of Gael Linn, the President of the GAA, a well-known journalist on the staff of one of the Dublin newspapers, a well-known film producer and expert who came all the way from Cork for the occasion, Senator FitzGerald and I.

When I was contacted, I laughed at the idea that the Páipéar Bán should be discussed on the "Late Late Show". I suggested to the producer, who contacted me, that the "Late Late Show" seemed to me to be an entertainment spot from which people were expected to get light laughs before going to bed. I told him I could not see how a serious topic like the Páipéar Bán could be included and I was told this was regarded as of such importance that it was intended to devote the programme's threequarters of an hour running time to a serious discussion on it. He said that for that purpose he had contacted so-and-so and so-and-so. When I heard the impressive list of the people interested in the Irish language, I assumed it would be a serious discussion and that this was a genuine opportunity to give a public airing to the proposals in the Páipéar Bán.

So, like a simpleton, I proceeded to Montrose that Saturday night for the slaughter, as we discovered. I arrived there with the serious intention of discussing the White Paper with the panel to which I refer. But we did not know the producer had an ace in the hole. None of us was informed. I do not know whether Senator FitzGerald knew about it but certainly none of the rest of us was informed. The ace made its appearance when we were all sitting there about to begin the discussion. He is a well-known professional person on stage, sound radio and television in this country.

He was brought there purely and simply to act the clown, to bring the whole programme into disrepute, to make a monkey out of every person who had gone there with the serious intention of discussing the White Paper, to give silly laughs to the hand-picked audience who were there. And, by the way, the hand-picked audience responded to what I did not know existed—a cheer leader, a fellow in the wings who, when the clown said something dirty about the panellists or the Irish language, clapped his hands in the wings to give the signal to the audience. This went on until such time as some members of the panel got quite annoyed. There was not any serious discussion on the Irish language: every attempt was frustrated by the interference of the clown, who made certain the audience got plenty of laughs and that the whole picture of the White Paper was completely distorted.

On a point of order, is it proper to refer to a leading, distinguished entertainer as a clown?

I did not mention any name.

(Longford): Senator Quinlan was the one to mention names when talking about the professors.

That was a diabolical example of how the Irish language was presented in an unbalanced way. Senator FitzGerald tried to make out there were five people on the panel in favour of the Irish language and that he and the clown were not in favour of it.

On a point of order, I was here when Senator FitzGerald was speaking. He did not say those people were in favour and that he was against the language. I understood him to say that they were in favour of the present method and that he was not.

There were vested interests.

My recollection of what he said is that there were five for the Irish language and he was the one survivor. He gave the impression that the five were for the language and that he was a bit the other way. Whatever the five were for they favoured the language in some way.

On a point of order, Senator FitzGerald is not against the language in any sense.

I wish he would give us some indication of that.

I was rather surprised when I heard Senator FitzGerald. I definitely understood him to say that the others were for the Irish language and that he was against it. He may not have meant to say that.

These are not points of order.

This is a diabolical example of how the dice can be loaded and have been loaded not alone on that programme but several other programmes on which there is no possibility of giving an intelligent reply to criticisms of the language policy, the language arrangements by those who believe in it. Senator FitzGerald should realise that in the words used for the guidance of RTE staff the idea is to give effect to an Act of this House and to the wishes of the people. He wanted to know who decided what the national aims are in relation to the language, as if he does not know damn well. He claims to be a democrat and he should know there is one way of finding out the wishes of the people, that is, through the ballot box.

A referendum.

On another occasion, I gave Senator FitzGerald the answer to that question and in case he has forgotten it, I shall repeat it. The Irish people have given the answer in general election after general election. They have voted for candidates of political Parties in the forefront of whose programmes has been, by one means or another, the restoring and reviving of the Irish language. This should be accepted even by Senator FitzGerald, no matter how he may wish to make himself unique in matters of this sort. Apart from the general elections and the fact that no organised political Party in this country have ever said they wanted to do away with the language, abolish the language or get rid of it in any way, there is the evidence of the plebiscite in 1937 to give to the people of this country a Constitution. In that plebiscite it was quite clearly provided that the articles in the Constitution relating to the language were discussed, put through the sieve, and undoubtedly better canvassed than probably any other articles in any document that we have had in many years.

For two or three months that document was under scrutiny in the Dáil, in the Seanad, in the Press and throughout the country. Nobody can tell me, not even Senator Garret FitzGerald, that the people were so dumb that they read every other article in the Constitution except the one which stated that Irish is the national language in this country; yet after all that he wants to know who defined the national aim. It is about time, I think, that Senator Garret Fitzgerald and those who think like him dropped that sort of tomfoolery and accepted the fact that whether a small minority like it or not, the Irish language is going to be restored as the language of this country and that it is being restored with the approval, the goodwill and the support of the majority of the people and of the organised bodies in this country.

The only other thing that really annoyed me about his silly question was his concern for the rights of minorities in regard to this matter. He instanced the case of the million people in the North who, he alleged, were all against the Irish language.

He did not allege that. He never alleged that any person there is against Irish.

He did not allege it; he said it.

That is a complete misrepresentation.

He said it and the Official Report will prove it.

Ninety per cent of the people do not know or understand it.

He quoted a million people who had no time for the language.

He did not say that.

He did say it.

The Official Report will show who is right, and if I am wrong I will apologise. Even if we take it for granted that there are a million, which of course is absurd, if he knew anything at all about the part of Ireland he spoke about last night, he would know what is happening up there in regard to the language and the interest which quite a big section of the people there are taking in it now. Assuming even for argument that the million were there, what about the other two millions in this country? Is a minority of one million people to override the wishes of two millions? Where is the democracy he has been talking about?

That was not suggested either.

We shall leave Senator Garret FitzGerald——

You are shooting down points that were never made.

There is not even a quarter of a million who can speak it or understand it.

We shall leave Senator Garret FitzGerald for the moment and go on to this extraordinary performance of wee Patrick Quinlan, the Senator from County Cork, a representative of the National University. I have heard in my time some extraordinary statements made here, but I do not think that in all the time I have been in the Seanad I have heard anything like the statements he made here half an hour ago. Talking about the "Hurler on the Ditch" programme, he had this to say, that "in no other democracy that I know of could a small group get into their hands the power to make and break politicians or to make and break Governments". The five men who appear on television once a week to discuss what goes on in our Parliament are so powerful and have such unsuspected influence with the hundreds of thousands of simple people in this country that not alone can they make and break politicians but they can even do it to Governments.

And for a gentleman who claims to have travelled so widely, to know so much and to be such an authority on the United States as he has often quoted, to say that there was no parallel to this power and to this group in the United States or elsewhere, and that he thought the greatest danger threatening democracy in this country were the five "Hurlers on the Ditch" was silly indeed. If the Senator would take time off the next time he flips over on a university tour to New York or elsewhere and looks at some television——

On a point of order, the next time I go over it will be to give a lecture and do some research, which is quite different from trips.

The Leader of the House was there, too.

I was born there, certainly, but I learned something as a result of being born there and Senator Quinlan apparently has learned nothing. He does not even look at the television programmes when he goes there, nor does he know the ferocious type of news coverage and interviews and pressganging of politicians and camouflaged attack that goes on on television and radio. And he thinks there is no parallel with the "Hurlers on the Ditch"! They are only children compared with some of the American television critics or even compared with some of the UTV and BBC men. I must say that if Senator Quinlan thinks they have such power and influence, he is much more out of touch with the country than I really believed he was.

When he wants to televise the Dáil and Seanad proceedings, there might be a point in it, but one good thing I would see in that would be that they would have to put a time limit on Senator Quinlan's speeches. He could not monopolise the microphones as he monopolises our time here. He still poses, I notice, as the voice of rural Ireland and as the only one here who can speak with authority on behalf of the rural dweller.

I am proud to do so.

I was interested to look this morning before I came in at how he spoke on the original Broadcasting Authority Bill in 1960. Amongst other things he is the brilliant mathematician, the prophet and forecaster of the future. It is well to see how his prophecies and forecasts came out in the past. I found that at that time he believed that the television service should be postponed for ten years.

It would have been better to have done something for education.

He thought the only reason we wanted television was to keep up with the Jones's, the Jones's being our neighbours across the Channel and over the Border. He was so out of touch with the world that he did not realise that television and radio, far from being a luxury, were a necessity in modern times. He objected to the evil effect it would have on rural Ireland and to the enormous cost which, with his usual mathematical precision, he worked out would be £6 million a year. I notice that last night it had gone up to £7 million. Neither of these figures bears any relation to the facts. Then he shuddered to think of, to use his own words, what type of "jazzed up" agricultural programme would be sent out to the farmer. I think I heard him praising the agricultural programmes here——

I did not make any mention of agriculture.

——on a recent occasion.

We all listened to Senator Quinlan and we would like to hear Senator Ó Maoláin now.

Will Seanadóir Ó Maoláin quote me correctly?

The most extraordinary thing he had to say, which completely destroyed any opinion I might have had of him, was that he did not see how television could make any contribution to religion in this country. He was convinced that the introduction of the 405-line standard would be "absolutely disastrous".

Looking into the future, he begged the Minister not to tie us to this obsolete system because in five years' time we would have 200,000 obsolete sets on our hands. The five years are up. The sets are going strong.

We are on 625.

The Senator waxed heroic on that. I was very interested to hear him speak on the subject of advertising because as one who has criticised expenditure here from time to time he wanted to know what was a paltry £300,000 or £400,000 in advertising revenue compared with the loss of our immortal souls. That was what it amounted to. He adopted that line last night but six years ago he was afraid that the advertising on Telefís Éireann would persuade the poor, innocent farmers to buy a lot of junk they did not want. He was afraid that television advertising would make the farmers buy the wrong article. Last night he switched to drink. The amazing thing was that he revealed that the bottle, whether it was Beamish or Guinness, was on the up and up among university students with whom he was acquainted.

The young people in general.

Last night he declared it was farcical to worry about the £200,000 in revenue which came from that source. In fact, he said it would be no great loss to do away with advertising on television as though the amount was not considerable. The total amount derived from advertising last year was £1½ million but, of course, to a magician such as Senator Quinlan, the replacement of that sum would not pose any great problem. It is a pity he did not tell us how he would get it, assuming we had to get it, and how we would run television without advertising. He was a very bad prophet in 1960.

A very good one.

He was equally so on the subject of the Congo.

He was no better last July when he forecast the disappearance of Harold Wilson and the British Labour Government before the beginning of December. Of course, Senator FitzGerald was just as bad a prophet in that regard. As I said at the start, I do not think Senator Quinlan is with it. The best proof of that was his proposal last night to economise on the service by cutting down the time because other countries had not the 45 hours a week service we have. I would like to see Senator Quinlan's face if he put that to some of the teenagers and rural dwellers with whom he was so seriously concerned in the course of his speech. If he asked them how would they feel about cutting down the 45 hours, he would probably be told it was far too short as it is.

The Senator has a very poor idea of the rural youth.

Why is it that Senator Quinlan cannot be proud of the fact that we have achieved something which other small nations in Europe have not achieved and for once stop going around with a chip on his shoulder? He should be proud of the fact that our television and radio service have been able, in a few short years, to chalk up such an amazing achievement. He should not always be comparing us, to our detriment, with Denmark and other places. He should be proud of our country for a change. I do not suppose there is any use talking about Senator Quinlan's attitude. He is hardly worth taking seriously in view of the futility of his forecasts and his absurd statement this morning.

I would like to talk about Senator O'Quigley's comments during the debate. Mind you, in 1960, when this Bill was going through, he had a lot of quaint ideas. He was equally worried about line standard for the programmes.

Is it not a fact that the country is on 625?

Senator Ó Maoláin, to continue.

I do not think Senator Quinlan knows the difference between 405 and 625. If he did, he would know that from the word "go" Telefís Éireann was operating on a dual transmission.

Only from Kippure.

It would help if the Leader of the House addressed the Chair instead of Senator Quinlan.

Senator Quinlan is addressing everyone.

I think Senator Ó Donnabháin is right in regard to Senator Quinlan. However, Senator O'Quigley had the grace to admit his doubts of that time. He had his feet pretty firmly on the ground through the course of his remarks last night. I was very glad to see a big change in his attitude in one particular respect. He was scandalised in 1960 at the alleged use, for party political purposes, of Radio Éireann in the news broadcasting of the Dáil and Seanad. His well deserved tribute last night to the reporting of "Today in the Dáil" was very welcome indeed. I think it is a sign of maturity, that he is growing up and that he is willing to believe that everybody who does not agree with him has as much right to their opinions and the right to have those opinions reported either in the Press or on the radio and that no undue suspicion might be cast on honest journalists and reporters who try to give a fair share of the space at their disposal to everybody. I was very glad, for that reason, to hear Senator O'Quigley on that point last night. Incidentally, he was a bad prophet at that time, too. It is amusing to remember his forecast that there would not be any Senator Ó Maoláin here in four years' time and certainly no Fianna Fáil Government. That is six years ago and we are still here.

I thoroughly agree with Senator O'Quigley in his remarks on the technique of interviewers on television. He said they were deplorable, and I commend his very practical suggestion for a planned programme to get rid of the misconceptions and prejudices that are handicapping the progress of the Irish language. That, I think, was a sensible suggestion because there are still people, and they are even in this House, who have a considerable number of misconceptions. A planned programme, such as was suggested by Senator O'Quigley, would, in my opinion, be a valuable asset in regard to the language restoration movement and would be a great help in educating people in a way we have neglected, I am afraid, up to the present.

I would like also to support him in the tribute he paid to the Director-General, Mr. McCourt, with whom I have had many severe and hefty arguments but whose difficulties I appreciate. He has a very unenviable job with the hundreds of thousands of bosses and so-called experts on television in this country who think they known how to run both radio and television. I think he is prepared to listen to criticism. I have given him many criticisms and I propose to give him more. He listens to them with an open mind. He certainly deserves credit for the way he has handled the job since he took over three years ago.

I would also like to support what Senator O'Quigley said in regard to better news coverage of the Dáil and the Seanad on television. At present there is very little. In fact, there is almost none. On the sound radio we have "Today in the Dáil" which is very good and on television the only reference to the Dáil and Seanad is on "The Hurler on the Ditch". This programme is televised only once a week. In spite of the criticisms that have been made of it, I find it a most useful and informative programme. My only complaint about it is that it is too short. It does not really give those gentlemen time to develop the arguments which are most interesting and most useful every week.

Outside of those programmes, there is no coverage of the Dáil and Seanad on television. I am very much in favour of suggestions made here during the debate that something should be done to bring in a more informative system of covering Parliamentary proceedings on this medium, even it be by open confrontation of political Parties. This "Open House" programme, to which reference was made, is, in my opinion, only a pale imitation of what a real confrontation of opposing Deputies or Senators could be. But the difficulties of arranging such a thing, I know, are pretty great. I really do think that, if we are to increase the interest of the viewers in these political discussion programmes, the time has come when we will have to bring members of opposing Parties and members of no Party face to face around the table in a free-for-all discussion under a neutral chairman. It would do an awful lot of good for politics and an understanding of these matters in the country.

(Longford): That will be the “Wrestlers in the Field”!

I do not agree at all with the criticisms of "Newsbeat". Senator O'Quigley described the programme as mediocrity and Senator Quinlan, of course, could not see any good in it either. I think it is a very interesting all-round programme. I think particularly that Frank Hall's contribution is one of the highlights of television and that the introduction of Éamonn de Buitléir's feature at odd moments during that programme is one of the most constructive ways in which Telefís Éireann could help the effort to popularise the Irish language. I think the "Newsbeat" programme excellent.

Senator McQuillan was very sorry, I noticed, for the people who cannot compare our television service with others and he seems to think they cannot make an intelligent criticism because of that fact. I am afraid Senator McQuillan has forgotten that although the people in certain parts of Ireland cannot see BBC or UTV, they have a standard of culture and morality which is a far better yardstick by which to compare the Telefís Éireann programmes than anything which might be shown on either of the other two channels. I do not think he need be worried about that. Senator McQuillan, of course, is a well-known opponent of the Irish language. He has no time for it at all and he was quite emphatic, like Senator Garret FitzGerald, that nobody had a right to lay down guide lines for the people in regard to it. He sees nothing wrong himself in setting down a guide line by which Irish will be abolished and making full use of the English language.

One thing in Senator FitzGerald's speech with which I found myself in agreement was the need for direct news correspondents in foreign capitals. I have a recollection, however, that Telefís Éireann has got an occasional correspondent in Washington who sends back pretty sound reports. But, apart from that effort and the occasional relays from Rome, there is very little, except the regular press news service and the wire service which Telefís Éireann obtains. I agree that an effort ought be made to have a direct report from a correspondent who would understand the Irish point of view and interpret the foreign point of view for us in the light of our own country.

A much more important thing our television service should do, however, is to expand the news service from the northern part of this island. We have an excellent man up there in Andy Boyd but he does not come on often enough; he is not allowed sufficient time to talk, and he is brought on only when there is something of very special importance. The time has come when we should have much more than the occasional telephone call from Belfast. Those six countries are as much part of this island as Cork and Dublin, and there must be news stirring in them, news in which the rest of Ireland would be interested, but we very rarely get it. I think, before going to any great trouble about foreign correspondents, Telefís Éireann ought to expand its service to give us more coverage of the situation in our own island.

I have a "crib" to voice before I go on to anything else. The "crib" is —and I raised it here a couple of years ago—in regard to Association Football. I complained on that occasion and severely criticised Telefís Éireann but I am glad to note there has been an improvement in the relations between RTE and the Football Association of Ireland and that the coverage of games on sound radio, on the whole, has been much better. However, the old bone of contention to which I referred a couple of years ago and which I thought might have been settled is still there to be chewed, that is, the coverage of the biggest day in Association Football in this country, the Cup Final.

I had interviews with Telefís Éireann people on this, following my talk in the Seanad on that occasion, and I suggested to them—and I suggest it now to the Minister for transfer again to the Director-General and the Authority—that it should not be beyond the bounds of possibility that a conference between the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Football Association of Ireland, who are the two biggest contestants on Sunday, under the chairmanship of the RTE could undoubtedly arrive at an amicable solution of the probblem. All the Football Association ask is that on one day in the year—on one Sunday in the year when they have a Cup Final, the biggest day in their season—they be entitled to have a report of it sent out over the Athlone transmitter so that it will get the widest coverage available.

They fixed their Cup Final for this year last April which is, incidentally, on the 50th anniversary of the Rising, April 24th. They were, naturally, anxious that they should be able to have a commentary broadcast on that day for the whole country. But the Gaelic Athletic Association go ahead and fix the semi-final of their National League for that day and nothing happens, except that the Gaelic Athletic Association claim that Telefís Éireann and everyone else must see that they get the widest possible coverage and the greatest power. That is all right for 51 weeks in the year but they cannot be too greedy; they cannot keep this up for ever. Surely if this conference I suggest were to take place next May to fix the following year's television and radio coverage, it would not be too much to expect that the Gaelic Athletic Association would not pick the same Sunday as the Football Association Cup Final for their big game. That was all that was asked. I hope the Minister will make representations in regard to this matter.

I do not think it is right that the Senator should imply that the GAA look at the calendar to see what day the FAI have fixed matches, and arrange their fixtures on the same day. They fix their matches without looking at any calendar.

The Senator has been most unfair to the GAA.

I have a complaint also of an omission by RTE. Irrespective of what Senator Quinlan and Senator Fitzgerald say, I think someone is entitled to speak on behalf of Association football. I have no authority to speak on their behalf, but I am interested in seeing that they get fair play, as well as every other section. There are 131 nations affiliated to the International Football Association, and there is a big population here which takes an interest in Association football. There will be World Cup games during this summer. These games will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and they will not clash with the fixtures of any other association. I hope RTE will make arrangements in time to cover them. Through some mechanical slip-up or lack of link, there was a failure to carry the Ireland-Spain European Cup games from Seville and Paris. I do not know how the slip-up could have happened twice in view of the fact that they always seem to be able to get a link with Europe for horse racing in Paris, and I hope there will be no such difficulty in regard to the World Cup games in London.

Like other Senators, I have criticised the technique of the interviewers, and I should like to go back to that, because I should like to suggest to the Minister that there is need for a training school to equip our television interviewing personnel with the right technique of interviewing. They could all benefit in one way or another from attendance at such a school. We have all seen these interviewers, some of them making speeches, others being quite bellicose, and some of them being sarcastic at the expense of the sitter. That creates a bad impression, and it does not encourage personalities to go on television to be interviewed if they find that they will be made fun of, or more or less threatened, or that there are aggressive interviewers who speak at them rather than to them.

There was one example of that last year when a very notable personality in the Church of Ireland, whose Synod was then in session—Canon Grey Stack, who is very well known all over Ireland—was persuaded to come along and talk on ecumenism, which at that time was big news. He found himself in great difficulty because he had to leave a meeting of the Synod in order to facilitate the television interviewer, but he did it because he thought the subject was of such importance and that if his views were considered valuable, it was his duty to give them. He went on the air and the interviewer talked at him, made a speech, and then proceeded to put a question. The Canon was then cut off because the time was up. He had tried to facilitate this interviewer but he did not get a chance of developing any point. That is one example.

The second example I want to quote is an interview with the Countess Fitzgerald. One of the points made by the RTE authority for the guidance of the staff is, "that interviewers will lose no opportunity to encourage members of the public to use Irish in part when being interviewed." When the Countess Fitzgerald was being interviewed—and the same interviewer, by the way, was a member of the panel on the Teen Talk programme recently and she was most aggressive to the teen talkers, which is not likely to encourage these youngsters to say their piece—she did her best to use some Irish, since the original questions were put to her in Irish, but every time she attempted to do so the interviewer interrupted her and in the end got so annoyed that she more or less told the Countess to "talk English or else." These are not isolated incidents. They have occurred regularly. Even the person I consider to be the star interviewer makes speeches, too, at times. In one case, when a topic of great importance was being discussed, his question was so long that by the time it was finished someone else had muscled in, and there was no time for the person being interviewed to answer. A training school seems to be the only solution, and it would be of profit to the viewers if the RTE staff took lessons in it.

A very wise instruction is issued for the guidance of the staff by the RTE authority. It reads:

(ii) that the standards of enunciation, grammar and diction in Irish used by announcers and newscasters are at least equal to those required in English, and that extremely localised vocabulary and pronunciation will be avoided by them.

There is no doubt that that is very necessary, because if the Irish language is to command the adherence of the people, as we believe it should and will, we cannot be satisfied with second best. If announcers and news-readers, or any other people who come before the viewers, are to read to us or talk to us in the Irish language, they should be as good as we can possibly get, and their diction should be sufficiently good to pass muster in any assembly of intelligent people.

Senators will have noticed that I have spoken mainly about television. I was a great radio fan until this masterpiece came into operation. Since then I have found very little opportunity of listening to the sound system but I am sure it was a great shock to everybody, as it was to me and to all those connected with the development of broadcasting in this part of Ireland, to read of the death of the Features Editor of Radio Éireann last year, Francis MacManus. Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam. He is an irreparable loss to the broadcasting service here. He planned some magnificent features, including the Thomas Davis Lectures and his inspiring efforts on Radio Éireann were undoubtedly a headline which I hope will be followed. The inspiration behind the splendid programmes we had on Irish history must have been his. I pay that tribute because I enjoyed the Thomas Davis Lectures so much and so often and I should like to say "thanks" publicly on behalf of all of us.

Before I conclude, I have a few compliments to pay to Radio Éireann and Telefís Éireann. I should like to compliment them on their general election coverage last year. It was a marvellous achievement worthy to stand up in competition with either BBC or UTV, in spite of what Senator Quinlan and others may say to the contrary. The only small fault I found with it was that during the ten hours they could have introduced a few five or ten minutes snippets in the Irish language for the benefit of those Irish speakers listening who were interested in the election results. I hope that when they repeat the performance, they will see to it the Irish language is not overlooked.

I should like also to compliment Telefís Éireann on John O'Donoghue's exploratory trip to the north. We do not have enough of these. It was a splendid idea and an excellent programme resulted which did a lot to tear away the cobwebs from the eyes of people south of the Border. I should like to compliment Telefís and Radio Éireann on their magnificent coverage of the Vatican Council in Rome. We were kept very well informed with excellent reports. It was a service for which the people of the country should be extremely grateful in view of the difficulty there was then from reading newspapers of getting any idea of what was really happening. Our television coverage summarised the position so well that it was an example any newspaper would be well advised to follow.

Radio Éireann deserve to be complimented on having won the Italia Prize last year. They provide a long number of hours of sound broadcasting and I am glad they were able to go into competition with European broadcasting systems and pull it off. The biggest compliment I should like to pay to Telefís Éireann is for their effort on 12th July last. A couple of years ago, soon after Telefís Éireann had been established, I tried to persuade the Authority to send a camera team to the north on occasions of their great festivals such as the Battle of the Boyne, the Siege of Derry and the Breaking of the Boom. These are all great historic events which could be made into the greatest folk sagas of our language or the English language. I am afraid we are neglecting them. At any rate, I wanted Telefís Éireann to send a camera team there with a crew of commentators to interpret for our people here the parades, the band music and the other events associated with the festival. Whether from lack of equipment or otherwise, they were unable to do it but they got facilities to use a BBC camera team and they had Seán Mac Réamoinn as commentator. He gave a magnificent introduction to the 12th of July programme. I still hope that this year they will be able to send a team up there to give us a good pen picture of the event such as Seán Mac Réamoinn gave us last year. I am not complaining that the BBC coverage was bad. It was very good but they did not have the extra bit of know-how needed.

That type of programme shows us down here what we are losing in the way of bands. There were hundreds of bands in that parade. Here one would have to travel half the country before finding a band. The bands we saw in the north were Irish bands and it was most interesting to hear them playing Moore's melodies and one of them playing "Kelly the Boy from Killane", showing they know good music. It is a sad thing that while they have hundreds of such bands in the north, ours are on the way out. It is time we brought them back, even if they never get into the Top Ten.

Before I sit down, I have a few brickbats. I was disgusted that one of the first social events Telefís Éireann presented through Eurovision was the Powerscourt Ball. I was not upset that they televised the Powerscourt Ball but with the poor television showing it made, both from the point of view of commentary and camera work. I think it was an appalling thing to send out as an example of a typical Irish social event. My second brickbat is for the CBS documentary film on Ireland. We do not object to seeing old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or Paramount films on Sunday nights: they may be 15 or 20 years old but they are still good stuff. However, they are of far-off days about faraway places but when we see a documentary film about modern Ireland, designed for a purely Irish audience, and find that it is two or three years old and that events protrayed are long past, we get annoyed. I do not think documentaries of that kind should be foisted on the Irish people by Telefís Éireann.

Another serious criticism is the situation in relation to the Fleadh Ceoil at Thurles last year. The newspapers carried strange reports. Rumours went around the place that this would be an orgy of drunkenness, fighting and all the rest. Ulster Television sent down a camera team and a commentator and the viewers there got a picture of the Fleadh, lasting 35 minutes, which gave a totally different impression from that created by newspaper reports here. The commentary was magnificent, the selection of music which they taped was splendid, the people whom they interviewed were a credit to those connected with the organisation of that great festival, and then in the commentary which followed, when the producer was asked about the alleged scenes, his explanation and his description corrected for the people up there the erroneous impressions which the English press reports made on them.

What did we find with Telefís Éireann, which should have covered it in a fashion which would have done credit to the Fleadh Ceoil and to Telefís Éireann? We had a film which ran for half an hour—no commentary; four times during that film the camera switched to the pubs and we saw scenes of young men drinking and putting back pints—excellent in its own way; I have no objection to it at all, but in view of the situation which has arisen and the result of this bad coverage and bad public relationship of the Fleadh Ceoil, surely Telefís Éireann could have found among the thousands of people there—musicians, harpists, singers, dancers on whom they could have turned the camera instead of bringing it four times into the pubs, giving the impression that all that went on was boozing parties in the various pubs around the town. I object to that very strongly.

They should have done a whitewashing job?

The last thing I want to speak on is a propos the Easter Week celebrations. Last year we had a travesty of a programme from Telefís Éireann, in my opinion, a nauseating programme, not at all suited or appropriate to the occasion. I sincerely hope that every precaution has been taken to ensure that the films that are made, the scripts written and the activities that will go on sound and television in commemoration of the Easter Week Rising will be such that we can be proud of them and that they will not give offence or give an occasion to critical people or to those who take part to think adversely about the quality and the standard of the programme. It is very important that every precaution should be taken to avoid creating the impression that anything will do so long as we put on a programme. That appeared to me to be what happened last year, and it was undoubtedly an insult. I do sincerely hope that the Minister will make certain that it is not repeated.

The only other point left is in relation to the references by Senator Garret FitzGerald and, I think, by Senator O'Quigley to the introduction of the Irish language into job arrangements in Telefís Éireann. To keep the record straight, I would like to read the guideline which was given to the staff.

On a point of information, would the Senator tell us what he is quoting? Are these documents public documents, an instruction issued from the Authority to the staff, and where can be find copies of same?

A copy of this was issued to every newspaper in the country and is available to the Senator if he wants to get it. It is worth looking at. It says "The Authority wishes that bilingualism should obtain where the particular job in broadcasting requires it, even if the capacity has to be acquired after recruitment. But it is anxious that those who do not know Irish should feel secure in their positions, while recognising that bilingualism cannot but make their usefulness and access to opportunities appreciably greater". There is no question of victimisation and no question of any misunderstanding such as I think might follow the references made here by the Senators about whom I am speaking.

I feel that this Bill has given us an opportunity of saying things that many of us would like to say. If I have unduly delayed the House, I am sorry, but I think it was worth while to get a chance to do so.

I should like, first of all, to compliment the Minister on his address to the House yesterday. Quite often it is very difficult for us here in the back bench to hear a Minister when he is addressing the House, but I suppose all Ministers are not blessed with the fine voice of the Ministers for Posts and Telegraphs. It was very pleasant to be able to sit here and hear every word he said.

As regards the Bill, if duration of time spent viewing or listening is a qualification for criticising, then I am the least qualified person in this House. I find that I watch television or listen to sound radio less and less every week. At the same time, I think it only right to express my views on some aspects of both television and sound broadcasting. It is only fair to say that both the Authorities now being combined are doing their best to cater for every section of the community. We can certainly disagree about a programme, but if we do, it is quite obvious that it is pleasing somebody else, and it goes without saying that it will be impossible to please everybody all the time. We can, of course, hope that the quality and standard will be raised as time goes on, but I should like to make a special appeal to the Minister to make sure that the improvement we all hope for in television will not be at the expense of sound broadcasting. Sound broadcasting may tend to become the Cinderella, and that, if it should happen, would be disastrous because there are so many people still who listen to the radio—many who prefer it to television and unfortunately very many who have no other means of hearing from the outside world.

I refer to blind people. They are solely dependent on radio for their entertainment and information, and their whole lives are centred around their radios. I would love to see some action to find out from them what types of programme interest them most. I do not know how you could go about getting that information, but I feel that it is something that would be of great benefit to them. We accept them; we take them for granted; but do we work and arrange programmes to suit them specifically in certain instances? I am afraid we do not.

There are, unfortunately, too, so many of those people who have not even got a radio. Wonderful work is being done by charitable organisations who cater for wireless for the blind and who should receive their just recognition from every section of the community. I suppose that all charitable organisations do great work in their own way but the Wireless for the Blind organisation is a favourite of mine and I hope of many more in the House too. I hope that the time will arrive when no blind person in the country will be without a radio, because we can imagine the cost to that organisation of providing radios and their replacement. It is, as I have said, their whole life, even their world, and we should cater for them as best we can.

As far as sound radio programmes are concerned, I have one "crib" to make in connection with the news bulletins. Some years ago we were always able to get the weather forecast at the start of the news. You can imagine that for anybody engaged in outdoor activities, farming or sporting, one of the main concerns at the start of the day is the weather prospect. Now we have to wait through the Vietnam war, an air crash in India, road accidents and so on before we can find out, even though we are going to be told it is going to rain again, what is the weather forecast. It would not be too much to ask that at least they give us a synopsis of the weather at the start of the news rather than that we should have to wait until the very end. I know they give a full forecast five minutes before the news but most people who switch on at eight o'clock or nine o'clock find that the weather forecast is not given until the end.

If you listen to the news at 10.15 at night and switch on at eight o'clock or nine o'clock the next morning or for the news headings at 10 o'clock, you get the very same dish each time. Nothing ever seems to happen between 10.15 at night and 10 o'clock the next morning. It is always the same dish. One wonders whether the compilers of the news or the news agencies have any contacts at all with the outside world or whether we have any contact in Ireland in relation to more Irish news. I often wonder whether it would be possible to compile a foreign news bulletin and then to have another news bulletin confined to Ireland at some other time. Be that as it may, one wonders why there is not some variety in the news.

"The Hurler on the Ditch", came in for a lot of criticism in this debate yesterday and today. A couple of weeks ago when the team met, they were basking in the glory of the compliments paid to them in the other House. While they are good, as far as I can see they are not all that good. They have a job to do and they do it as well as they can. I feel we have lost something since they discontinued the independent chairman. The five of them, when they get together, have a discussion but when they had the independent chairman, it brought out more of the points they were trying to make. If they went back to that system, I think their programme would be very considerably improved.

Sport is very well catered for in the sports programmes but I wonder why we cannot have more sport on television on Saturday afternoons in the wintertime. We get a lot of sport in the summertime when people can be out of doors. It is more necessary, to my mind, in the wintertime when people are confined to their houses. They would much rather sit down at the fire on a Saturday afternoon and watch television. They have plenty of variety in sport to show on television. As I am a Kildareman, I would naturally like to see more horseracing but you have to cater for all tastes. There is plenty of variety in sport available for Saturday afternoon and I would certainly like to see more of it on those occasions. I hope that both radio and television will continue to do their best to cater for the pleasure and information of all sections of the community and that the standards will go on improving so that the next time there is a discussion in this House we will have no cribs whatsoever.

I think this occasion is a good opportunity, as has been said by other speakers, of discussing the sound and television services. I listened with considerable sympathy to Senator Garret FitzGerald's speech. A point that struck me, which deserved development or consideration, was a point he made about over-popularising certain features or certain events. There is no question that Telefís Éireann, in particular, is conditioned by the world of commerce, and what is most popular is what brings in the biggest revenue. The TAM rating is very consciously in the minds of those who organise the programmes. We must recognise this fact, and in recognising it, we might perhaps urge the authorities to fight a bit against it. In fact I should almost be inclined to put the question, are they prepared to fight against this tendency or are we to continue to regard television as a kind of convenient opium— bread and circuses—which keep the people quiet, keep them from talking or thinking too much and keep them from doing too much. If you can lull them into a kind of bemused state in the evenings, then they will not give trouble.

This is a tendency at least as old as the Roman Empire, to try and dish up what is most popular in order to keep the people quiet. I put the question as to whether we do not sometimes pander overmuch—and this is the point which Senator Garret FitzGerald was making—what will go down, what is wanted by the mass of very often not very thoughtful people? Bernard Shaw, as good an Irishman as there has ever been, used to say that you should give the public not what they want but what you think is good for them. If you say that you will be accused of being a do-gooder and a reformer. To both of those Shaw would have pleaded guilty. His contention was that you should not take the easy path and just give the public what they think you should. You should present them with a challenge, present them with something which, as Senator O'Reilly said, would give them a certain uplift and, in fact, be a little beyond them, now and again. You should not really take the lowest common multiple.

It is true, of course, in this country, that the only choice we have is between sound and television. We have no real alternative Irish programme apart from that. This is a matter of finance. It is regrettable in a way. The British are very fortunate in being able to put out three pretty well balanced and varied programmes, to which we are lucky to have access, if we are not satisfied with what is produced here. I sympathise, I must say, despite what Senator Ó Maoláin said, with what Senator Garret FitzGerald said about his pronouncement on the danger of unbalanced discussion and so on. If we are over-preoccupied with striking a "balance" every time, we will get no worthwhile argument or discussion at all. It is obvious that lots of discussions and controversies can be overbalanced for one reason or another, but I feel that they right themselves not by having weights taken off each side but by having a reasonable spirit in the controversy. I prefer an unbalanced controversy to no discussion. It may be temporarily unbalanced, and it leads to a more effective discussion, because you will eventually get every point of view strongly put.

I have to admit I have not got a television set and have seen very little television either here or abroad. I am afraid to buy a television set for fear it might sap my moral fibre. This is apparently what has happened to Senator Ó Maoláin. He used to listen to sound radio a lot and now you can see that he is far more easily shocked about things to which he used to be relatively impervious. This marked disimprovement can obviously be attributed—in part at least—this shockability, this nervous reaction—can be attributed in part at least to the sort of things he forces himself to look at on Telefís Éireann.

I do not ever force myself.

He enjoys this moral degradation. I think it is a pity. I am afraid I might go the same way and, therefore, until I get a bit stronger, I still shall resist the temptation to buy a television set.

I do listen a lot to sound radio, and I had a note here to make reference to something Senator Ó Maoláin referred to before me. I just want to support something he said about the late Frank MacManus, for whom we all had great admiration and affection, and about what he did for the features and talks side of sound radio. The benefit of this has spread not only on sound radio but to Telefís Éireann. Senator Ó Maoláin mentioned the Thomas Davis Lectures, and I think a tribute can be paid in this connection to Frank MacManus, to this strong and gentle officer of the station down many years, who had not, I think, an enemy in the world among those who knew him and from whose imaginative zest and artistic qualities the station has permanently benefited. These Thomas Davis lectures which Senator Ó Maoláin has mentioned I think justify a spirit of hope because they are half-hour lectures pretty solidly given in the main, with a scholarly approach and presentation, and they have aroused wide interest. I take strength and encouragement from the fact that this type of half-hour lecture goes down and is taken. I would say, perhaps, that the Irish public is ready for a little bit more serious material than sometimes the programme deviser is ready to put before them.

I think also that Maurice Gorham, who has a great talent and a liberal mind, has contributed much to our radio standards. There was talk here about discussion on world events and so on. There used to be a series of discussions by a panel, of which I was one humble member. We had a team of five or six and one of us each week would make a comment on world events as we saw them. This programme has long since finished, but it seemed then to be something which was worthwhile. None of us was any great expert but, nevertheless, we were always given a free hand by Maurice Gorham. The clash of opinions then week by week seemed to me to be the stuff to help to form valuable public opinion.

Reference has been made to the high standard of acting on sound radio. This is very true. They have a fine repertory company and the standard of performance there is, I think, very high. But, on Telefís Éireann—and as I say I have not seen much of it, only occasionally in friend's houses —it seems to me we are content some times with a poor variety of American films, and not a little violence on the screen. I would contend that this kind of violence may have a worse effect upon our morals than some of the quiz programmes to which exception is taken. I think we should be a little more choosey, about the type of bash-and-crash film which is shown by Telefís Éireann.

Senator Quinlan made a point, and was rather laughed at for so doing, but I think his point is right, about advertising drink, tobacco and so on. I do not smoke: I enjoy a drink, but the plugging of these two things on television it would appear to me— and I think Senator Quinlan is right —can have quite a bad effect. My own father ran a weekly paper here for several years before his murder in 1916, called The Irish Citizen, and which was continued for some years after his death. The easiest thing to get on any paper are the advertisements for drink and tobacco, and he was implacably opposed to both, and so would never accept an advertisement for drink and tobacco, and this placed The Irish Citizen in a situation of jeopardy, and involved considerably more work in the task of those few who helped him to go out and seek advertising. This could be regarded as a naïve, unrealistic attitude. How can you refuse good money? That really is the basis of our attitude in society at large in Ireland today. If the money is good, it has no smell—pecunia non olet.

The pushing of drink on Telefís Éireann would be defended simply on the ground that it brings in more money and, therefore, it is all right. We read frequently, indeed I read the other day a wretched case of a boy of 15 who gave evidence to the effect that normally before going to a dance he had three or four pints. He was served in a public house, presumably. Then he goes off to the dance and in fact kills, stabs one of his friends there, who also was suffering apparently from the effects of drink. What is the morality behind that situation? Are the people who sell this drink held in any way responsible? Are there any telegrams from the bishops to the authorities involved, is the Attorney General concerned, or do we just take this as a normal part of the Irish scene and nothing to get worried about? So the drink advertisements lead us to accept that it is normal for a child of 15 to have three or four pints before he goes along to a dance.

I feel, therefore, that Senator Quinlan has said something valuable, and that we might be more choosey in the type of advertisement for these things even if we were to lose money by it, because I would remind Senator Ó Maoláin we are informed in some circumstances that man does not live by bread or even drink alone. Therefore, to ask where will you get the £200,000 which comes from these things is not a sufficient reply to Senator Ó Maoláin, however much we may differ from him on other points.

I should like to see that proved, all the same—it goes a long way.

At least one should be choosey about the bread and the drink. I am sure Senator Ó Maoláin agrees with me on this: thrusting drink at young people over the medium of television, or in the newspapers for that matter, and encouraging the situation in which it is normal in Ireland for a fifteen year old boy to take pint after pint before he goes to a dance, and probably at the dance too, is not something we can really approve, even if it does bring in cash.

Reference was made to the "School Around the Corner" programme. I used to listen to it on the radio. Personally I always got the impression that the compÉre there was rather jeering at the children; getting them to make fools of themselves. It seems to me—I am in a minority on this, perhaps—that his aim really was to use the children as exhibits rather than to treat them with affection.

I remember one occasion when he asked a little boy: "Were you ever biffed in school?" He never asked that question again because the boy said: "Yes, sir; yes, sir; yes, sir." At once the interviewer said: "But you deserved it; didn't you, didn't you, didn't you?" and the boy said: "Yes, sir; yes, sir ; yes, sir." There was no more about biffing. It seems to me that very frequently the attitude is that a type of guying of children is expected which I find very distasteful. I do not share the view that this is a good programme. As I said, I have not seen it on television, and it may have changed completely for all I know.

My contention is that radio and television should be more educational than they are. They should be more serious. We might perhaps even engage in a bit of satire, although I recognise that, as a people, we like to "dish it out" but we do not like to take it, so far as satire is concerned. We are a touchy people when it comes to satire. As far as irony goes, it is a dangerous instrument to use. I remember just the other day I referred to the fact that we had progressed at such a rate that in 1900 under Queen Victoria we raised the school leaving age from 13 years to 14 years. I said that by the 1970s we hoped to raise it to 15 years. Which would put us ahead of what was done under that "progressive queen". It seemed to me that Queen Victoria was so obviously the very epitome of all things reactionary and non-progressive, that the irony was obvious, but I got an anonymous letter the next day accusing me of praising the famine queen! I am just making the point that we in Ireland could take more serious listening and viewing, though perhaps satire would still be misunderstood.

I have a certain amount of experience of television in France, and despite the fact that television in France gives you a very clear definition—I think it is an 800 line—of fourth-rate American films the quality of the films there is certainly no better than on Telefís Éireann. To me it became wearisome in the extreme. It is less original and less French than our Telefís Éireann is Irish. Quality of definition in the picture is not by any means a guarantee that the viewing will be good. On sound radio in France, the news is guided from the Government's point of view in a way which would not be tolerated here. We protest about this or that, but in fact a great number of French people today listen to the news on Radio Luxembourg because they cannot stand the way in which the official news is sent out on the State radio.

References were made by several people to interviews both on sound and television. I have been interviewed in various programmes by a number of interviewers. I have been interviewed by Miriam Hedderman, Marion Fitzgerald, Brian Farrell and Brian Cleeve, and I was interviewed on a programme called "Image" by Prionnsias Mac Aonghusa in a half hour interview. In every case the greatest courtesy was observed by the interviewer, and I was given a complete chance to say what I wanted to. The interviewers occasionally asked what might be regarded as needling questions but after all that is what we are there for. If we cannot take that kind of thing, we should not submit ourselves for interview. I have nothing but the highest praise for the way in which I was treated on each occasion. Every courtesy was extended to me and every opportunity for discussing points, controversial or otherwise. I would disagree therefore with those who say that our interviewers tend to be aggressive. That has not been my experience, and although my experience is not very extensive I have been interviewed by each of the people I mentioned.

The news service has been praised and I do not want to add anything except to say that I agree. I will say that it has been improved in one way. The news reading has been perceptibly improving down through the years. It is read now with much more briskness than was the case with one or two announcers previously.

Senator Ó Maoláin in talking about Senator O'Quigley's praise of the coverage of the Dáil and Seanad proceedings, said he was glad to see that Senator O'Quigley was growing up and could now praise this service. I remember the first speech Senator Ó Maoláin made on broadcasting in this House— it is a number of years ago now—in which he attacked very violently the reporting of the Dáil and Seanad on Radio Éireann, even, I thought, a little unfairly: so that when he now praises it perhaps Senator O'Quigley might like to say that he is pleased to see that Senator Ó Maoláin is growing up in this respect. The fact is that the news service on the Dáil and Seanad is excellent. It is done I think with a great sense of fair play.

I should like to look now at our nearest neighbour because I think we can learn something from the BBC. This is a noncommercial broadcasting corporation, and it produces things which we might emulate. The schools' programmes are of a particularly high standard, and I should like to draw attention to the fact that in conjunction with them there is a very high standard of publication also. The publication end of Radio Éireann has not achieved anything like the standard achieved by the BBC. This is something which is being developed but it must be developed further.

The BBC also allow very adult discussions on topics which might be regarded as awkward or highly controversial. They have a lot of programmes for adult education, which is something of which we are in very great need. We are conscious of the fact that our educational system has not been what we would like it to be, and therefore the complementary nature of adult education by radio has heightened importance here, and it is something to which attention should be given by the devisers of the programmes. They have on the BBC Third Network, apart from the Third Programme, all types of topics some of which are treated from the point of view of educating adults —in languages, in shorthand and in all kinds of major and minor skills. They have a high standard of music and an interest in the arts which we should try to emulate. It would be difficult to achieve, but we could with fruit look at what they attempt to do. I should point out that the BBC expect a high standard from their listeners and viewers. They do not always get it, but they expect a high standard of appreciation, a high standard of response. This does not mean that the BBC do not ever get themselves into trouble or lay themselves open to criticism, but they are prepared to assume that a fairly big proportion of their listeners and viewers are prepared to make the effort to appreciate things just a bit above the lowest common denominator of what is "popular" with the public.

The last point I wish to make in regard to the BBC is the refreshing change that has come about both in the north and south of this country. Senator Ó Maoláin called for more news programmes on the north, but it is true that the news bulletins of Radio Éireann and the Belfast stations have far more news now, we of the north and they of us, than was the case two or three years ago. It is something to be welcomed, something to be noted. It is something that will help to break down unofficial barriers between the two parts of the country.

The high standards, consequently, which are achieved by the BBC derive to some extent from the fact that the BBC demonstrably have a high opinion of the listening and viewing public. That is something which Teleís Éireann should keep always before them. Let us have a high opinion of what the Irish public, listening and viewing, will "take."

Business suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.

Before the interval I had reached the point of having spoken in praise of much that is broadcast by the BBC for which we ought incidentally to be grateful and I made the point that not only do they provide a very high standard but they have a high opinion of the listening and viewing public. That is what we should do here, perhaps even more visibly and manifestly than so far we have succeeded in doing.

There has been a good deal of discussion in recent days on the "Late Late Show"in Telefís Éireann. I have seen it only once, and that was when I saw it live, because I was part of the "clowning" set-up, shall we say, with two other Senators, Senators Garret FitzGerald and Eoin Ryan. That is my one experience of the show. I would say that on that occasion we did our best at any rate not to be really vulgar! Judging the show pretty objectively, I would say that it was light entertainment, with very swift leaping from subject to subject, a rather frothy entertainment, insubstantial and very lightly handled by the compére. Gay Byrne. He is a good compére in my opinion—witty, quick, affable, urbane and quite obviously very popular. The other night, as we know, there was an example—I read about it in the newspapers—of what was regarded by some as a very serious lapse from taste. I would say about this particular example that it was well meant both on the part of the participants and of the asker of the question, but quite clearly vulgar. I would say vulgar in an innocent, somewhat exhibitionist sort of way. I say this, however, that if we condemn this, let us recognise, with some humility perhaps, that in Ireland today where the major portion of our people are deliberately kept in childish guiding strings, and where educationally we are often treated as if we should never grow up, in these circumstances let us not be surprised if vulgarity has a high TAM rating. This is the case in this country. What I would call fourth or fifth form vulgarity is extremely popular in Ireland today. This may be a subject of regret, it may be a subject of amusement, but let us not forget that the TAM rating is the judgment of the majority at least of the viewers, all of whom are products of our own Irish educational system. On this occasion, the Bishop of Clonfert made a dignified protest. Of course he had a perfect right to do so.

I noticed a letter, however, in one of the evening newspapers a couple of days ago, signed by F. Sherlock, if I remember the name correctly, asking whether his lordship is really in touch with modern Ireland and the modern Irish public, or whether, in fact, he is aware of a certain acceptance and shifting of standards. Whatever the answer to that question is, I would say that the principle here involved is not whether the Bishop of Clonfert had or had not the right to "intervene". It is sometimes called intervening but I do not think that is the right word. I would say, most emphatically, that of course he had a right to express his opinion, and his opinion, as a person of responsibility, should be listened to and examined.

There are one or two things against which we must guard. One is to say to such a man: "You must not express an opinion. You must not protest or intervene" and the other extreme is saying: "Once you have expressed your opinion, nobody else can have any other opinion." I feel the mean between those two extremes is to say: "Yes, by all means let people of responsibility and authority express a view. Let it be discussed, and above all let it not be accepted uncritically as being the last possible word." One must retain the right to lay down the principle that even the opinions of such a man as a bishop are open to examination, question and discussion.

There was a point made by Senator Quinlan, which I think was an interesting one. It was that we have lengthier hours of viewing than some other countries in Europe, such as Holland and Denmark. I did not know this and I think it is very interesting. I suggested at the beginning that possibly some people in this country are pleased that we have lengthy viewing because it stops people from thinking, it acts as a kind of opium. I am not sure that Senator Quinlan is not right when he says that we might have a better service if we had shorter hours of viewing time in the evening. He suggested it might start later in the evening so that the breadwinner might come home and see his family before they all just sat goggle-eyed in front of the box.

Senator Quinlan is, of course, scared, as he confesses, of the dangers of too much of what he qualified as "left wing writers of letters to the Editor of the Irish Times, of which group I am proud to call myself a member. I should hate to think that we inspire terror into Senator Quinlan. I feel there must have been something atavistic there. Or I think, perhaps, he may have been frightened by a newspaper when he was a baby, and he has never recovered. I feel however that he would, in all seriousness, agree with me that in such a free discussion, great is the truth and it will pervail. The same applies to television and radio controversies. Provided there is a fair field and no favour, then I feel the truth is stronger than error.

I was rather surprised, but I am quite encouraged by the fact that Senator Quinlan actually attacked the thing that is sometimes regarded in practice as the holiest thing in this country. I refer to the profit motive, the making of money. Senator Quinlan—he was mocked for it afterwards—actually suggested that there might be some things which we might not care to make money out of. Surely he is right, but he is of course attacking the profit motive. I think it is only fair to him to warn him that he should go into this with his eyes open and be careful because, before we know where we are, he will be advocating the placing of community need before private greed. You might even find him suggesting that we should give to each according to his need, and take from each according to his capacity. You would find him quoting from the communist manifesto, or some such text, in defence of a socialist view rather than a capitalist one. I do not think within the terms of our Irish economy, as now understood, that he has any right to be greatly surprised that the over-riding factor is: how much money can we make? If we can make a lot of money out of certain types of advertising, this is regarded by many as sufficient justification in itself.

That is Senator Ó Maoláin's motive, not mine.

My only friendly warning to Senator Quinlan is that he is on the slippery slope of socialism and, if he reaches the heights —for it is an upward slope of course! —I shall be glad to give him a hand to the summit. I think we could even make room on this summit though it is a fairly small space at the moment, for Senator Ó Maoláin also.

Senator Ó Maoláin, I think, and perhaps some other Senator too, referred to something very important which the Minister said in his opening statement. and that is we shall have VHF in April. This is, of course, a very important step forward. Anybody who has had experience of VHF will know that even if you are close up to a good station on the medium wave band you do not get anything like the reception you would get from VHF. This is something which, in fact, will put Radio Éireann far more competitively in the field, artistically and otherwise, with the VHF stations of the BBC. It is an excellent thing, and I take the opportunity of welcoming it.

I should like to return finally to this whole question of the educational function of our radio and television services, with which I started. Alas, we are largely still in Ireland an undereducated people. I do not think there is much doubt about that; I think perhaps an innocent belief, but it is sincerely held, that the potential brain power in Ireland is very high. There is a high intelligence potential in Irish children, but I recognise that it is gravely underdeveloped. I see, for instance, in the statistics compiled by the Investment in Education Report that of those who took the primary schools certificate—I forget whether it was 1963 or 1964—28 per cent passed; 8 per cent failed, 10 per cent were absent and of 53 per cent there is “no trace”. That is the official phrase “no trace”—they do not know what happened to them exactly. There is an explanatory paragraph about this phrase “no trace”, which amounts apparently to 53 per cent. I should mention that these percentages are rounded off figures and that is why it does not reach the even 100. This 53 per cent, the Report says, represented children who either had not reached the sixth standard or had not completed it. It is rather a frightening picture of the ordinary education of our people that the majority, in this particular year, had not even reached or, at any rate, had not completed the sixth primary school standard. That is to say they had not reached what might be considered as the absolutely minimal basic education which could be expected in a civilised country.

Therefore there is an added, a very greatly increased duty on our television and sound radio to supplement our educational system, and this it tries to do. I am not suggesting that it does not, but I am encouraging an increase of emphasis upon this. I would suggest to the Minister that he too should encourage experiment in this field, and in every field, and let us not be content to accept so readily what has previously "gone down". There is quite an area for experiment. I can see an educational aim as being the basic aim; perhaps more than the entertainment value of television and radio; education which could be technical, philosophic, cultural, practical or theoretical and a great deal of necessary adult education can be achieved by our broadcasting services. I think it should be serious and ambitious and I think it should be adult. I should prefer that all such programmes put out, and the targets aimed at, should be rather a little bit out of the reach of some of the listeners than too readily within their reach. In other words, to put them on the stretch; to make them feel they have to make an effort and I think it should be done more frequently. Senator O'Reilly made that point very well yesterday, and I think he is quite right, that our programmes could, in general, be more ambitious and would do an even greater service to an undereducated country.

I conclude, then, by saying that our broadcasting services should give a lead, and not be content just to follow the popular whim or the TAM rating; they should actually consciously give a lead, and present a challenge. If they do present this cultural and intellectual challenge, I believe that, even if it is only gradually, nevertheless ultimately our people more and more will show themselves well able to respond.

With Senator Ó Maoláin, I should like to welcome the Minister to the House and hope we have not tried his patience too much with repetition and many of the hares we have been chasing. Most aspects of television have been dealt with, ranging from the advertisements to "Backbencher" and to the "Late Late Show" so I merely wish to make a few observations. Firstly, we all realise now the great difficulties television had to overcome to get on the air at all, the difficulty of getting technicians, staff, proper equipment and so on. Indeed, we are rightly proud that they have overcome all these difficulties. We all admitted here yesterday and today that our programmes have improved but, whilst the programmes have improved, we still believe there is more room for improvement and we hope the aim will be for better and more educational programmes. Now five years have passed and it is only right that we should do a bit of stocktaking and we should expect that many of the growing pains should have been overcome, so I should like to point out just a few of the comments I have heard. I was very disappointed to hear Senator Sheehy Skeffington say that vulgarity had a high rating because I have spent 16 years behind the bar of a public house and the observations I am giving are from a cross section of the community which visited my bar.

People would welcome more programmes with a national content and people in rural Ireland would welcome more programmes which inspire pride in our great national heritage. I think it was Senator O'Quigley who said that much more of this could be brought to our people if we dealt with our National Museum and our Art Gallery. I am not a regular viewer of television but I have seen some very fine programmes from our National Gallery given by Mr. James White and I think we should congratulate Mr. White on having brought our national treasures on to the screen for many of our people from rural Ireland who could never hope, perhaps, to see the National Gallery.

We should also like to see more programmes covering a re-dedication of the ideals of 1916, especially in this Jubilee Year, and programmes also which would stress a better sense of values in the material field as well as in the moral and spiritual fields, because we all know it is much easier to slip down the pole than to climb up, and now is the time to be careful. Many people referred to television and our language. All people interested in the language agree that whilst we are getting some help with it, it is not a planned or a graded programme for the revival of the language. Since the political Parties are agreed that our language should be restored, I think the person in charge of a programme should rule out of order any person who makes a football of, or degrades, such a precious heritage as our national language.

From my own observations, and from questioning people, I have found that the programmes which are most popular are "Telefís Feirme", "Telefís Scoile", "Club Céilí"—although someone had a droch-mheas to throw on that—"Amuigh Faoin Spéir", and the various cabarets. They seem to have the highest ratings. We have to put up with some canned programmes until, I suppose, we have more money in the kitty to fill those hours. Some of these canned programmes are of some educational value. We should have more hand and eye subjects. There was a drawing programme which has been discontinued, but there should be far more hand and eye programmes, and there should be competitions based on those programmes.

Someone said that the viewing time should be cut down. I do not agree with that, but I think the parents should exercise more control. There is a chance here to discipline children, to see that they behave themselves, and to ensure that they see only the children's programmes. Reference was also made to the showing of "Stephen D" but that was put on at a time when all good children should have been in bed. We have also been told that entertainment is the main aim of television, but I agree with Senator Sheehy Skeffington that education should be its main object in this age in Ireland.

Our television programmes should entertain and uplift rather than entertain and degrade or debase. You can entertain and educate at the same time. The references made to adult education are quite true. For many years we have had not enough post primary education, and we should have far more post primary education for children and adults. I think it was Senator McAuliffe who suggested that the special school half hour should be regarded in the light of entertainment at the end of the day or on a Friday evening. I was surprised to hear a teacher making that suggestion because no programme on television can compare with a teacher, no matter how bad he is. You can always get something across much better through a live medium. Anyway, that half hour is there for a subject which is dear to the hearts of teachers and I do not think the Senator's suggestion was a good one.

The children could be taught in school to be more selective. Five or ten minutes could be given to the programme for each week, and the teachers could point out the most valuable ones, and also the ones that are not considered suitable but are a waste of time. That coincides with what Senator Sheehy Skeffington said about television in the schools. I think it would obstruct the thinking of the children, and it would get them into the habit of looking to others for their thinking rather than using their own brains.

We can be proud of the progress television has made, while still believing that we must keep aiming higher and higher.

On average, the television service is very satisfactory and, by trial and error, there is no doubt that the programmes on radio and television can be improved. So long as the administrators of the service keep an open mind they will be able to make changes for the better. I have noticed that improvements have been made over the years. This is an innovation that keeps in step with the needs of the times.

We must realise that we have only one service here, radio and television. Our approach must be different from the approach across the water where they have three or four services and people can shift from one channel to another. Here, what is presented by our service is all that is available, and there is no choice except to switch over to the BBC or to the other services in Britain. The same thing applies to radio. When the programme on our radio did not suit people they switched over to some BBC programme in which they were interested.

I may be wrong but I believe that particularly in this country where we are limited to one service, television should be concentrated on uplifting and educating, and for that reason I believe there should be more television in our schools, if possible, particularly for the senior classes. We all know that visual impact is greater than the impact on hearing. If we had the advantage of visual impact from television in addition to hearing the programmes, I am sure a greater impression would be made and if television is used, particularly for the more senior groups of our children, it will bring them forward.

No one will dispute the fact that since television was introduced here the tiny tots have come forward to a considerable extent as a result of its visual impact. If you are brushing your teeth in the morning a four year old child will look up at you and repeat a phrase he or she heard on television, something like, "Macleans is better or healthier." That proves that television makes an impact on children, so if it is used to benefit children it will bring them forward, and I have no doubt that it will have very good results. No one will dispute the fact that television has brought forward the outlook of our children possibly by about two years.

Therefore, I submit that our television service should be used for the purpose of education, primarily, and then entertainment. If the two things could be brought forward hand in hand it would bring great advantages. In parts of this country our television sets are capable of picking up programmes from across the water. If there is a programme on our service which parents consider undesirable for their children they have the choice of switching to a more suitable programme from across the water. That has always been the case in relation to sound broadcasting. It is very important that parents should examine the programmes available and decide in the interests of their children what programmes they should not see or should be encouraged to see.

I feel that in the canned programmes disseminated by our television station there is too much crime and violence. We see nothing but guns and knives, cheating and treachery, all things which make an impression on young minds. It changes the frame of mind of children towards older people and towards other children. When these canned programmes are put out in order to fill in a number of hours, very careful choice is necessary to ensure that the use of these programmes will not harm the impressionable minds of children. Surely it should be possible to draw a sufficient number of such programmes from cowboy films in which there is a minimum of violence. There are other programmes put out by Telefís Éireann which attract the children's attention. For instance, a lot of them are interested in the programme "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". It projects a type of story that keeps the children interested.

It was mentioned during the debate that Radio-Telefís Éireann should increase the number of debates screened in order to fill in more of the time now devoted to canned programmes. It was suggested that there should be more debates on Dáil and Seanad affairs. Most of us reading the newspapers the next day hardly recognise the report of our speeches the previous day. They pick out one or two sentences which do not convey what the speaker intended. The real sense of what the Senators and Deputies said is not conveyed because of shortage of space. On Telefís Éireann, good editing and interviews with speakers would bring out the points they really wished to have conveyed. For instance, a reporter on such a programme could ask: "What did you really say today," and the Deputy or Senator could then convey the sense of the speech. It would interest young people in politics. Most politicians are anxious to get the public at large interested in politics. After all, politics is a bread and butter matter, it is the science of fighting for and achieving higher standards of living, higher levels of education, all of which go to make life better. I am glad to say there is a new attitude to politics among the younger generation and it should be encouraged. To young people these days politices has assumed a new importance and interest. It affects their daily lives and their future by way of implementation of policies, the adoption of policies and so forth. For that reason I hope the kind of programme I have suggested will be made available more often. Apart from anything else, it would give the public cause to thresh out and argue national problems by their fireside and a greater number of people would become interested in these problems.

In relation to ordinary administration of television programmes, I should like to point out that there is quite a difference between a commentary put across on radio and on television. In the case of television, people are watching what is happening and at the same time a commentator tells them what is happening. In the case of radio, the commentator is telling the listeners what has happened. Therefore, any attempt to synchronise television and radio commentaries is bound to be unsatisfactory. Most people who have considered it will agree it is impossible to have one commentary to cover television and radio. I know people interested in matches who know people every person on the field, who watch every movement of the play. They are disturbed by television commentaries because they can see what is happening more quickly than the commentator can tell them so many of them turn the sound off and continue the vision only. They can enjoy it better without the commentary.

Another matter I should like to mention concerns wheather forecasts. I agree with the suggestion that weather forecasts should be before and after the news. What happens generally is that people turn on their sets to see the news at 6 o'clock on the assumption that they will have the weather forecast after the news. There are many people who are vitally interested in weather forecasts. I think they should be facilitated because I do not think many of the people who are interested mainly in the news would mind hearing the weather forecast all over again. It would be better for the people who are vitally interested in the weather.

I do not think I have anything more to say in relation to this matters. I would not take it on myself to be critical of them because I have not studied intensively the general administration of radio and television, but as an ordinary viewer or listener I must say that it is satisfactory.

There was an outburst, of course, in relation to what occurred on a television programme, but those who are critical should remember that this thing is spontaneous. The interviewer cannot know what a person is likely to say since it is absolutely live and spontaneous, and therefore, if a remark off the line is made allowances must be made for this. Naturally enough, most of us would like to see these things avoided so far as it is possible, but it is not possible to cut out the danger of it when you are going to have a live spontaneous programme, when anything is likely to be said, unless you were to edit the programme before it is put over on the screen.

The arrangement to provide VHF services is long overdue. This is a very good idea because there are pockets in this country where the programmes cannot be heard although these people are paying licences for it. I feel myself that both these services are sensitive to criticism and so long as they consider those criticism and than take the appropriate action or no action at all —so long as they heed public criticism and listen to every crank in the country and make their own decisions, we can be sure that a fairly good programme will be provided. Generally speaking, they must be complimented on having made a great effort to please most of the people all the time.

I had no intention at the beginning of participating in this debate, but listening intently to what has been said last night and today there are just a few points I would like to mention. I have not got a lot to say, and I sincerely hope that I will not take a long time to say it. In the first place, I happen to live in a fringe area where we get nothing but Telefís Éireann and we have available to us both the 405 and 625 transmissions, both equally distant from us in Castle-bar. We find that the reception from the 405 station in Sligo is reasonably good and reception from 625 station in Maghera is completely out because of interference. I mention that because one would imagine, listening to the debate, that the same set of circumstances applied in every part of the country, whereas, in fact we have as many different situations as we have different tastes. We have of course, always open and available to us the privilege of turning off our sets when we do not like the programme. I have often done that. I have been just as critical, possibly, as some of the people who have spoken here. At the same time, one must be open to conviction and whereas I thought that the standard of programmes was very open to criticism, during the last few weeks I visited some houses in the country— I will not tell the purpose of my visits but Senators may guess it if they like— and what impressed me was the fact that those country people have now open to them a source of entertainment which they had never dreamed of in their lives before. I found the people, the bean a tí and the visitors, enjoy and follow with great interest programmes that I would have turned off at home.

As far as we are concerned, we have no alternative to Telefís Éireann, so that naturally we would like a higher standard, but, as I say, people set their own standards and what is quite suitable to and appreciated by one person would be entirely disregarded or distasteful to another. I was really tremendously impressed by the interest taken by people in the country in the programmes put across. This fact set me furiously to think. I felt this way. I said: "What a pity that the programmes put across were not all worthwhile entertainment wise, educational wise, national wise or what have you." Some of the programmes put across by Telefís Éireann or Radio Éireann are to me depressingly raucous, noisome, discordant and lacking in any entertainment. We have programmes at midday on Sunday which I feel are a travesty and an infliction on the people, and that programme is repeated during the week. There may be people in Dublin who enjoy that programme, consequently my reaction must be regarded as being my own, but I have heard many people comment on it in the same way as I am doing now. I realise that in different localities we have different tastes, but I doubt very much if anybody enjoys forced laughter from paid cheer leaders and the disgusting kind of applause which supports doubtful jokes and sometimes utter rubbish. It is unfortunate that programmes of that type are repeated, but I realise that some people enjoy them.

We have other programmes by people who would be in high places, potential Uachtaráin, etc., which I think, again, are tremendous rubbish. I shall say no more about them.

Can we really substitute something worthwhile as far as educational programmes are concerned? A number of programmes could be both entertaining and educational and they would be a tremendous inspiration for our young people. Recently I have been listening to programmes from the BBC in the early morning—a quarter of an hour reading from David Copperfield read beautifully and entertainingly. It occurred to me that if we had prepared in this historic year of 1966 readings every day at some time, morning or evening, of the lives of the leaders of 1916 or of the people who sacrificed their lives in 1916—those lives would have to be written by good authors, be unbiassed, factual, and continue for a quarter of an hour or half an hour —they would be entertaining, instructive, and an inspiration to our young people.

You will start a revolution.

If you start a revolution in the country with regard to certain things we have still got, it might do a lot of good. It would certainly be more entertaining and more desirable than some of the canned programmes we have at present.

I could not agree more than I do with Senator McAuliffe when he criticised the very poor programmes on Sunday particularly and on Saturday evening. Furthermore, there is another aspect of our programmes which I think we should pay a good lot of attention to, that is, the educational programmes arising from annual events in this country. For instance, every year we have two shows in Dublin. We have the Spring Show and the Horse Show. The highest quality of animals are brought along to the Spring Show. Expert judges classify those animals and grade them 1, 2, 3 and 4. It would be of great interest and of great educational value to our people in the country if the points on which the decisions and the classifications were arrived at were explained. It would be of great help if we could plan programmes of that description showing the judging, the decisive points of merit, the points which influenced the judges in arriving at their decision and show these to the young farmers' groups such as Macra na Feirme and those people throughout the country who are tremendously interested in developing their knowledge of farming in general.

We could also have programmes based on the advantages and the profits to be gained by proper drainage, proper manuring and proper cultivation of the land. It would be of great benefit to have short documentaries in connection with land reclamation and the necessity for maintaining good husbandry afterwards because many of the portions of land reclaimed under the Land Reclamation Scheme, having been neglected subsequently, are now worse than they were at the beginning. Projects in operation should be brought home to the people. For instance, the grassmeal project in my own county and the big events that happen throughout the year which have a certain amount of atmosphere which is entirely unknown to the people should be filmed and shown at certain times throughout the year. Amongst those programmes I would have feiseanna, fleadhanna and possibly pilgrimages to Croagh Patrick and Knock. Events of that description have a certain amount of atmosphere. They are steeped in tradition for this country and would be of tremendous interest if shown throughout the country.

I would say greater coverage should be given to all types of sport. Incidentally, it is a pity we cannot have agreement on the televising of the international rugby match to take place here on Saturday next. I have been associated with the GAA—I suppose I have lost as much in the GAA as anybody could lose one way or the other—but I think we should be broad-minded enough to take whatever is entertaining.

The GAA are not stopping them.

I am saying that all the programmes in connection with international events should be available to the people. Certain programmes have been mentioned and discussed. One of those is "Open House". I think that "Open House" has been abused pretty badly. It is a programme which should be used for the purpose of being educational and instructive. I do not agree, for that reason, with an off-the-cuff discussion at all. Men from the different Parties with different views could be called on to discuss important programmes or aspects of national life but those discussions should take place after notification and after consideration. Each of the members of the panel should be notified during the week that he will be called on to deal with three, four, five, or whatever number you like, important questions and there should be an opportunity of discussing them.

Let us take those programmes. A question is put from the audience and thrown up to the panel. It is handed over to one member of the panel. He must start his comment or his answer straight away; otherwise he will look stupid. He starts off his comment on the particular matter without having had a moment's opportunity of consideration. I think, for that reason, that the merit of the answers and the merit of the discussion is quite lost. As far as those programmes are concerned, they could be of very great value and the replies and discussions could be weighed up by the public. I regret, indeed, that some of the programmes in "Open House" have been turned into a kind of political racket, with no credit to the participants and no real value to the audience.

I agree that the Telefís Éireann newscasts are entirely disappointing. They are altogether too late—several hours late. The "Newsbeat" programme afterwards could be very interesting and very instructive if the compere of that programme turned it into something useful. He takes up certain items reported in the local papers throughout the country and generally picks out something calculated to create a laugh or discredit that particular paper or the locality in which the paper is read.

On the other hand, the "Newsbeat" programme could be used for the purpose of pinpointing differences of opinion and the difference in penalties imposed for the same offence in one district and another. This programme could be made a useful instrument rather than, as used at the present time, as a means of bringing ridicule on a district or a paper.

With regard to the "Late Late Show," when a mistake has been made by a compére, he should realise, if the public taste has been offended, that he should not come back in a subsequent show and try to brazen out the situation in which a particular show has been kept off because of its not being suitable. In most cases it is accepted that the public are always right and the viewing public of this or any other country should not be offended by vulgarity. I am not in agreement with Senator Sheehy Skeffington, nor am I in agreement with any person who will say that the public taste in this country should be open to attack week after week or night after night in the matter of public performances, no matter how glibly put across by certain promoters.

In point of fact what I said was that we have to recognise that in this country today vulgarity has a high TAM rating.

But, again, I have pointed out in everything I said that there are different opinions in different areas; different tastes in different minds and, as far as the majority of the people in this country is concerned, vulgarity has a very low TAM rating.

I wish it was true.

Speaking again of the promoters of these programmes, I think we could do with a little bit of a wind of change. We have the same promoters, whether they offend or please and, generally, they are backed up by their cousins, sisters and aunts on the programmes, with the result that it becomes a kind of family business. The sooner we have a change, the better. I do not think the taxpayers or the people paying for wireless and television in this country should be asked to bear the cost of bringing a girl across from England to spin a wheel, even though the promoter was particularly interested in her hair-do, her dress or her shoes.

I agree wholeheartedly with Senator Quinlan in his reference to the advertising of cigarettes and drink.

In my time I indulged both in cigarettes and in drink. The great fear associated with cigarete smoking is the fear of lung cancer. Everybody who knows anything about drink knows that the process of drink taking control of a man is slow but sure—I say "man" because I do not like to mention "women"—but it applies equally to them. The idea of young girls sitting on high stools in bars with a half pint of ale in their hand is absolutely foreign to this country. We should do everything in our power to eradicate that unfortunate picture from the minds of our young people. It is, in my opinion, degrading, disgusting and in very bad taste and I do not mind what money is got from it. I have no respect for blood money or money got in that way.

In pleading for educational entertainment and clean programmes, I would suggest that we might have some programmes on the lines of the travelogues which were so popular. We are trying to promote tourism. We could, indeed, have very many short pictures of the various beauty spots and events which are of interest to tourists and have those covered by good commentators which would make them very good entertainment for all our people. I think radio and television should be used very much more to project the real image of our country, our politicians, our institutions, our way of life, our difficulties and our efforts to adjust them.

With regard to the Irish language, something has been done but I do not agree that the best use is being made of radio and television for the purpose of promoting the Irish language. We have, over the past 30 or 40 years, devoted quite a lot of time, energy and money towards encouraging and fostering the Irish language in the youth but where we are falling down completely is on the need to use it. I think our radio and television programmes should start with the old Irish salutations. We should have more of the ordinary conversation which takes place between any two people on the street when they meet in the ordinary way, conversational Irish up to a point. After all, if we repeat the same news four or five times a day, if we repeat the same story four or five times a day and if we repeat half a dozen phrases in Irish several times during the day, we would very soon have the youngsters picking up those phrases just as quickly as they pick up the rhymes associated with advertising. What we need to do at the present time is to try to get the people to use and speak, to the best of their ability, as much Irish as they have got. In that way, we would be doing the very best service to the language.

In general, Radio Éireann is fairly good. Telefís Éireann is fair, but it can be made good. A lot will depend on the willingness of the Authority to accept decent, well-meant criticism and, having accepted it, to act on it, even if some people's ego may suffer. I would also agree that we could very well afford to sacrifice time for value.

Might I intervene for a moment to know whether we could get an understanding on what time the Minister could start his reply?

What time does the Minister need?

Half-an-hour I suppose.

I take it there are about four Senators to speak.

Could we get agreement that the Minister would begin at 4.30 p.m.?

I think we could get agreement to try to let the Minister in but it would be unwise to make it certain.

It would be unwise to curtail it.

Why does the Senator talk about curtailment? We are not curtailing anything; we are just trying to find out what time the Minister might be likely to get in.

The Chair understands that there are five Senators still to speak. Could we get an indication——

I think this is an important debate.

We shall see how we get on by 4.30 anyhow.

I have just two minutes. I am one of the minority who has not got a television set and I do not listen to radio very often but I hear, with some encouragement, that we will have VHF very shortly in our broadcasting system. I should like to ask the Minister if there is any provision in the Principal Act that has not been enforced or if it is his intention to make any provision for the avoidance of interference with VHF by motor cars passing on the road outside the house? It is very disturbing when you are listening to a musical programme on the radio. With VHF it comes through beautifully without any of the ordinary interference from other stations but every time a car passes there is this tingling noise which interferes with the music of the programme. I understand that this can quite easily be overcome by the fitting of a small suppressor to the engine of the car. The cost would be very small, but it would be of real value particularly in regard to musical programmes, and in the cities where cars are passing all the time. With this new development of VHF, the Minister must take some steps to avoid this type of interference.

I do not propose to take up much of the time of the House. It has been pointed out that this Bill gives us an opportunity of reviewing the progress of Telefís Éireann since it was established. We all welcome that, and I do not think anyone can accuse Senators of not having availed of it. While we may have tried the patience of the Minister on his first visit to the House, I am sure he will agree that it has been worth while.

If the debate has brought home one thing more than another, it has brought home to us the impossible task with which the RTE Authority are confronted in trying to please all tastes. It is obvious from the trend of this discussion that one person's likes are another person's dislikes. It is very difficult for the Authority to cater for all tastes. By and large, it is generally agreed that they have made a very good effort. While I have one or two criticisms to offer—needless to say, I would appear out of step if I were to praise the Authority all the way—I hope they will be considered as constructive and helpful. I do not want to be accused of offering criticism for criticism's sake.

The Authority have been criticised because they advertise cigarettes and drink. The merits and demerits of those wares have been bandied about during the past two days. My criticism of Telefís Éireann in regard to advertising is that there is too much advertising altogether, irrespective of whether it is the advertising of beer, tobacco, cigarettes or any other wares. Too much viewing time is taken up with commercials. We very often hear the wisecrack that we see the programmes now and again between the commercials. I do not know whether the percentage of time for advertising that we were led to expect when television was established here has been increased, but it appears to the viewing public that it has. Another aspect of the commercials is that the timing of all our programmes seems to be geared to suit the commercials. That is very obvious in the sporting programmes.

Having said that too much time is allocated to advertisements I now want to say that in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the news programmes and the sporting programmes are curtailed because of the advertisements. It is obvious in the sporting programmes that the clock is most important. I agree that the advertisers pay the piper, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the viewing public make a big contribution in television licence fees.

My second criticism is that not enough time is given to sports. Senator Ó Maoláin seemed to indicate today that the GAA were hogging time on radio and television to the detriment of another organisation. I do not think that is altogether correct. As a democratic body, the GAA believe that every other sporting organisation in the country is entitled to the same facilities as we in the GAA. Let us look at the amount of time devoted to sporting programmes. We had an example last Sunday night.

Last Saturday there was an international rugby match, and on Sunday we had the Association first round Cup matches throughout the country. On Sunday also we had very important National League matches all over the country, and yet the time devoted to these sports on television was 15 minutes. I am sure that if we took out the time taken by the commercials, we would find that it was possibly about 12 minutes. That was all the time Brendan O'Reilly had for the sports programme on Telefís Éireann last Sunday night. That is not good enough for the followers of any sport. I appeal to the Minister and the Authority to realise that we are a sports-loving people. Our sports commentators are as good as the sports commentators on the BBC, ITV or any other medium. We should be very proud of our sports commentators, and more use should be made of them. More time should be given to sporting programmes.

I can give another example. Recently there were two important boxing tournaments in this city. They were so important and so popular that it was impossible to get a ticket for the stadium two weeks before they took place. The viewing public owe a debt of gratitude to the Amateur Boxing Association for giving us an opportunity of seeing those contests on television. What happened? We were given the results of the fights and an hour afterwards we were shown the fights. That was not the proper way to deal with the viewing public. If we did not know the results of the fights, we could have taken more of an interest in them, but it spoiled the whole effect to telecast the fights an hour or two after they had taken place. We all feel that this programme should have been put over alive.

Apart from the need for these few criticisms, by and large we must agree that Telefís Éireann are doing a good job. I do not wish to take up the time of the House by telling Senators about a number of programmes which I think are excellent. I agree with those who were critical about canned programmes. They give me the impression that Telefís Éireann can procure them at bargain prices and that it is a good way of filling in time. As I have said, generally Telefís Éireann do a good job but I appeal to those in control to have a good look at the weak spots.

I could use all my ingenuity and still not find something to speak about on this measure which has not already been dealt with. In a broad way, the results of television can be felt in the sporting world, in the cultural sphere and in entertainment. A number of the people who criticise Telefís Éireann are perhaps not sufficiently aware of the difficulties under which they work. I am not aware of them and feel that if we had a greater understanding of the problems, we would not be so critical. In the entertainment field, we are offered two types of programme—the canned material and the programmes produced by Telefís Éireann themselves. I am not an admirer of canned programmes but it seems to me that the programmes produced by Telefís Éireann are, in the main, fairly thin. They do not present any great entertainment and neither do they make any great contribution in the educational field. Perhaps this is because they are short of the type of personnel they want to man the shows but I am afraid there is a very wide gap to be filled in this respect.

Reference was made today to the "Hurler on the Ditch" programme and one Senator made the very good suggestion that it could be improved by an independent chairman. I agree. If five politicians get together, it is reasonable to expect them to discuss politics. In the same way, when five journalists get together, they are likely to give the journalist's point of view and an independent chairman would stimulate the debate and help to get the meaty bits into the programme which it does not have at the moment. I suggest it is a dangerous thing to allow five Press representatives to interpret what we do in Dáil or Seanad. We know them as reputable journalists and I have no fears in that respect, but I repeat that an independent chairman would add to the programme.

Sometimes I wonder how much of an impression Telefís Éireann programmes make in the cultural field. Club Céilí is a nice programme but it is beginning to show signs of gimmickry. At the outset it showed some signs of céilí tradition but it now looks more like professional dancing, having no relation to what people in the country regard as céilí. It is probably getting a bit out of hand.

There are two excellent orchestras functioning under the Authority, the Symphony Orchestra and the Light Orchestra. I am not a persistent viewer but it appears to me that here we have two orchestras of international repute which could be used with excellent effect on television. In recent times I have noticed that the Light Orchestra is being used more and more as an accompanying instrument to other performers. It is wrong to allow a full orchestra to be used just to accompany any two people. The orchestra is capable of putting over excellent programmes and does not want anybody to embellish it. Throughout the country there are many people who would like to hear and see more of both orchestras.

Reference was made to TAM ratings and to vulgarisms in some shows which have high TAM ratings. I know the people in the area from which I come and I can state that there is no admiration for these vulgar programmes. The only place which gives a high TAM rating for such programmes is where people who claim to be the educated strata come from. The ordinary people in the country do not see anything funny in them. In this respect, Telefís Éireann come in for a lot of criticism and it is not good enough, when replying to such criticism, to plead that nobody is responsible. We expect somebody to be responsible. I repeat that such programmes have no TAM rating in my part of the country.

Senator Ahern referred to the work on television of Mr. James White, the Curator of the Municipal Gallery. These talks have been instructive and interesting. They have given to people who have not normally the opportunity of seeing the wonderful pictures which the people of Dublin are lucky to have, and do not go to see, an opportunity of viewing the pictures at their firesides. They have the excellent talk by Mr. White on the technical qualities of the pictures. Of course the colours cannot be appreciated, but the talks have been most interesting and I have heard much favourable comment about them. I hope Telefís Éireann will give Mr. White an opportunity of extending his activity in his respect.

I was amazed three months ago when viewing a teenage programme to hear one of the panel make a most awful attack on the Irish language in the presence of many young people. I thought, perhaps, his patience had overcome him, but since then I heard the same person in another programme make what I considered to be a most unwarranted statement against the language. I am not a language enthusiast but I am dedicated and feel like everybody would that everything should be done to revive Irish, and I do not see, whatever we talk about minorities, any reason why a person who is known to be actively adverse to the language should be put on a programme in the position of a compére. Let him to get out into the middle of the floor where he will have to take any criticism that comes from there. I would not put any man in the exalted position of being on the panel who was known to take that attitude. He should not succeed in getting back on this panel after what he said on the first occasion.

There are one or two little features I would commend. I think everybody is very appreciative of the programme "Labhair Gaeilge Linn" and amongst my own family I can say that "Amuigh Faoin Spéir" has generated a great interest among children. An extension of these programmes should be looked to. "Amuigh Faoin Spéir" is one of the nicest programmes I have seen. I have seen a number of small cheaply-produced continental films quite obviously made by semi-amateur people running about ten minutes. There is nobody employed in them except a bird, an animal or something like that, and a study should be made of that kind of picture because it is the kind which children might get wrapped up in very much and this would be the kind that should be used for the language promotion.

I think that possibly through ignorance on the part of the public, Telefís Éireann has not the good public image that everybody would like to see it having. If it were being run by a commercial company or corporation, I would imagine that they would be quite disturbed by the public image. This might well be through ignorance or rumour or one thing or another. Another semi-State body when it was perturbed about its public image gave an opportunity to members of the Oireachtas to look closely into its activities, and this greatly changed everybody's opinion very much in its favour. I do not know that Telefís Éireann might not take a leaf out of its book and at some appropriate time invite both Houses of the Oireachtas to visit Montrose because I feel that it would do them a world of good. We would understand their difficulties and would possibly the next time when we got an opportunity of discussing their affairs be able to see them in a much more favourable light.

I welcome this Bill as I feel that by and large Telefís Éireann and Radio Éireann have progressed quite well in the past few years. However, I know that it is good for us to be able to see ourselves as others see us, and I sincerely hope that the big amount of genuine criticism that was levelled against the service last night and today will be studied by the Authority and induce them to make improvements or at least to ensure that the same mistakes will not be made again. As a member of the Oireachtas, I did not have an opportunity of visiting Montrose—I think most members did go last year or the year before—so that the few criticisms I have to offer are those of the ordinary viewer.

I think that the service is doing quite a good job as an entertainment medium. No matter how good they are or what they do, they cannot hope to please 100 per cent of our population or our viewers, but the Authority have an obligation to realise that 90 per cent of the taxpayers and the people who pay their television fee are critical Catholics and to keep that fact in the forefront of their minds. I also feel that somebody should mention to the directors of Telefís Éireann that there are almost four million people in this country and that there is no justification for having the same faces appearing on the few panels on the panel games week after week until eventually they are introduced as experts on this, that or the other.

I also take exception to the fact that in one particular show, "The Late, Late Show", it is necessary to be a foreigner if you are to have any interest for the general public. Surely the vast majority of Irish people would like to see Irish men and women, especially those who have been eminently successful in their particular walks of life, on this programme? They are the people I should like to sit back and view on Saturday evening, and not the miscellaneous collection of people from overseas trying to push books or to get cheap publicity or free advertising for plays, books, variety shows or whatever you have.

We have a large number of very genuine artists, actors and comedians in our country who never get a look in on television. That is something that should be corrected. If there is a difficulty in arranging so that we see live plays or programmes for those people, surely those are the people who are living in the entertainment world and who should be given an opportunity of appearing as panel members, because most of them, especially the comedians, can be relied on to have a certain amount of wit. Despite what has been said about Joe Lynch by many speakers, I still think that he is quite an interesting character. There is no reason why he should hit at the language every time he comes on, but apart from that, I like the way he goes on.

One thing I should like to mention is that far too many people on "The Late, Late Show" appear to be intoxicated. Perhaps I should not say "far too many," but too often either a guest or a panel member has had what appears to be one over the eight. There is no excuse for that and I should like this situation rectified.

As to the advertising of cigarettes and beer, the firms involved have done a tremendous amount for our country and for its economy and give very stable employment. I do not think we should advocate any action that would affect them adversely. There is no obligation on anybody to buy any of the wares advertised on television. Personally, I am afraid that it would have to come to the point at which the television would hand out some samples through the tube before I would be tempted to partake of the spirits, the beer or the cigarettes.

The Senator wants something for nothing.

It is not that I want something for nothing but that individuals should be able to decide without television whether they want to drink or not, and I do not think that people who have done such good service to the country and contributed so much to our taxes should be penalised for it.

I would like to pay a tribute to the educational programmes. As an active politician, I do not see very many of the television programmes, but on Sunday they start with Ted Nealon and Cross Country. They are at a very suitable hour for agricultural programmes and I should like to congratulate all the personnel concerned with both "Cross Country,""On the Land" and "Telefís Feirme." This is a programme which is quite new and is bearing excellent results.

I note from a German publication "Education in Germany, No. 1/1966/E" that somewhat similar programmes have been in operation for the past year in the Federal Republic of Germany. On page 17 of this publication it is stated:

The director of the programme of studies, Helmut Oeller, considers the experiment promising, for he believes that a "new group need" is coming into being. The television viewer in a group is more successful than the individual in his efforts to educate himself further. It has been established that about half of those who attend the television programme groups at the institutes of adult education do in fact have their own television set at home.

The "Telefís Feirme" programme is proving quite successful and I think the Authority would be well advised to follow this system, especially in the field of adult education. Irish men and women have used adult education very successfully in the past, especially in the USA. Television could certainly stimulate a greater interest in adult education. Apart from the group methods, such as "Telefís Feirme", it would be most helpful if we had programmes for, let us say, late night viewing after 10 o'clock on special or specific subjects. They would get a wide viewing.

I remember last year there was a short programme on weekly, on motor engineering. I believe, while it was not continued, there were very many people interested in it and very many people got hints and interesting tips from that programme. No matter how good the television programmes are, one cannot expect the public to stay howling laughing all night. Therefore, we need to have change and variety and we should avail of this time by using it in the best possible manner, that is, in the field of education.

I would like to see, as several Senators have mentioned, more plays by our Radio Éireann repertory group. We have a very great number of plays that would be quite acceptable on Irish television. We have actors and actresses who are very capable of putting them across. It is a pity, on Sunday night after "Tolka Row", instead of having some of the real old American films, we could not all enjoy some of the plays that have been well known in our country over the years. After all, the younger generation have not had, as yet, an opportunity of seeing these plays. As well as that, it would encourage Irish play writers to produce more.

Some Senators commented on the moral aspect of some shows. If Telefís Éireann rules quite harshly on certain shows and televises those only which are acceptable to all, or at least to the vast majority of our community, it will more or less stimulate our writers to write plays that are clean and fit for the wider viewing public.

Most of what I had intended to say has already been mentioned and I do not propose to go over it again. There is one point I would make, that is, that I would like to see Telefís Éireann with one good compére. I recall when the big charity ball was held in Enniskerry, there was quite a collection of very influential and interesting people there; yet the people compéring that show only picked out a few Irish television personalities. That was a mistake. We should have one man in the Authority whose business would be to know who was who and to study the faces of the various people in Irish life. Any man who cannot pick out at least our Ministers of State and leading political figures in our country is not fit to be a compére. The public are always interested in those people and, therefore, when the occasion arises, Telefís Éireann should have a man who knows these people. Similarly, at race meetings between the races, the viewers would be very interested in seeing the trainers, the jockeys and the stars, as it were, amongst the crowd.

I have no further comments to make except to wish the service continued success. I should like to see more of our Irish people appearing on the panel games and fewer foreigners. I hope the Minister will bring these points to the notice of the Authority.

Is trua lion nach raibh ar mo chumas bheith i láthair aréir nó maidin inniu nuair a bhí an díospóireacht seo ar siúl. Tá mé ag labhairt faoi leath-chuma anois sa mhéid nach bhfuil fhios agam céard tá ráite cheana ach glacaim leis, ó mhair an díospóireacht chomh fada seo, nach bhfuil aon ghné den chóras RadioTelefís nach bhfuil pléite go mion ag Seanadóírí eile.

Is é is mó a thug ormsa éirí anseo nár mhaith liom an uain a ligint tharm gan fáilte fíor-chroíúil a chur roimh an ráiteas úd a chuir an tÚdarás amach le gairid faoi úsáid na Gaeilge as seo amach ar an Telefís. Is fada muid ag fanacht lena leithéid uathu. Is é an chéad chomhartha é atá againn go bhfuil an tÚdarás dáiríre faoi chomhlíonadh a gcuid dualgaisí i leith na Gaeilge faoi mar atá leagtha amach in alt a 17 den Acht faoinar bunaíodh an córas Telefíse. Is iomaí sin agóid a cuireadh chucu le blianta beaga anuas ag iarraidh a chur ina luí orthu go raibh siad ag cliseadh ar an náisiún i gceann de na haidhmeanna is tábhachtaí atá curtha rompa ag an Stát. Tá fhios agam féin ón gcomhfhreagras fada a bhí ag Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge leis an Údarás agus leis an Stiúrthóir nach raibh aon bhá le Gaeilge ná le forbairt na Gaeilge ag muintir Montrose. Ní raibh le fáil uathu go dtí seo ach an freagra liom leat. Ba léir orthu gurab é ba mhian leo a laghad ab' fhéidir leo a dhéanamh chun iad féin a choinneáil ar thaobh na fothana den dlí. Bhí gach aon leithscéal tuatach acu—nach raibh ina ndualgas i leith na Gaeilge ach ceann amháin den iliomad dualgaisí a cuireadh orthu agus go mba phráinní le cuid mhór acu ná an ceann áirithe seo. Ach dá mbeadh an meon ceart iontu, d'fhéadfaidís freastal ar na dualgaisí sin uile agus san am céanna a gcion féin a dhéanamh chun cúis na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn mar a bhí dlite orthu. Is mór an t-ábhar sásaimh liom mar sin go bhfuil siad tagtha ar mhalairt intinne faoin gceist seo agus tá súil agam go gcuirfidh siad an polasaí nua seo i bhfeidhm go stuama agus go críochnúil.

Tugaim faoi deara go bhfuil Seanadóir amháin ar a laghad ann nach bhfuil ar aon intinn liom i dtaobh an ráitis seo agus adeir gur náireach agus gur sonnta an mhaise é ag foras Stáit géilleadh do mhionlach sa tír atá ag iarraidh a ndearcadh agus a dtuairimí féin a bhrú anuas ar an bpobal go léir. Bheadh léirmheas den sórt sin ceart go leor agus d'fhéadfainn aontú leis dá mba dhream iad an mionlach seo a bhí ag saothrú ar mhaithe leo féin nó a bhí ag teacht in aghaidh polasaí an Stáit. Ach sa chás áirithe seo is ag iarraidh polasaí an Stáit a thabhairt i gcríoch a bhí siad trí mheán an fhoras seo ar cuireadh de shain-chúram air gan faillí a dhéanamh i bhforbairt na Gaeilge ná san fhealsúnacht atá ag gabháil léi. Dá bhrí sin ní léir dom go bhfuil aon bhunús fírinne leis an léirmheas úd agus ní ghlacaim leis in aon chor.

Focal nó dhó anois i dtaobh Telefís Scoile. Cuireadh fáilte mhór roimh na cláracha seo nuair a tháinig siad ann i dtosach. Agus dob' fhiú ann iad mara mbeadh ann ach an nuaíocht a bhí ag roinnt le h-áis mar sin a chur á úsáid sa scoil. Níl aon eolas pearsanta agam faoi seo mar ní fear eolaíochta mé ach deirtear liom go bhfuil na cláracha féin ar fheabhas, chomh maith ar a laghad le haon chlár dá sórt i dtír ar bith eile. Mar sin féin tá cuid de na scoileanna áirithe as bheith ag breathnú orthu. D'fhéadfadh a lán cúiseanna a bheith leis sin. Tá sé an-deacair, go háirithe i scoil mhór, an clár ama a eagrú i gcaoi go dtiocfaidh sé in oiriúint don chlár Telefíse. Agus ní hé gach múinteoir atá in ann coinneáil céim ar chéim leis an léiritheoir ar an Telefís—cuid acu chun tosaigh air agus cuid acu chun deiridh. Ar aon chuma tá mé buartha faoi seo agus mholfainn don Aire ceistiúchán eile a chur chuig na scoileanna féachaint an féidir teacht ar réiteach níos fearr chun go mbainfear feidhm níos forleithne as na cláracha sár-mhaithe seo. Sa cheistiúchán céanna níor mhiste dó féachaint lena fháil amach an féidir cláracha a chur ar fáil in ábhair eile seachas eolaíocht. Tá an oiread sin scoileanna anois ann a bhfuil telefíseáin acu trí chabhair na ndeontas ón Roinn Oideachais go mba mhór an trua gan feidhm iomlán a bhaint astu.

I am certainly not going to hold up the debate at this late stage. What I have to say will not take any more than three minutes. I have two points to make about sound radio. In the first place, I should like to join the other Senators who have congratulated Radio Éireann on the fact that a VHF service is at last coming this year. We have been looking forward to this for a long time now and it is satisfactory to know that, at last, it is coming into being because there is no doubt about it VHF will be a very great improvement in the reception from Radio Éireann not merely in the far away areas but, even in the adjacent ones, the quality will be vastly improved.

In connection with VHF, I should like to ask the Minister, if he has the information conveniently to hand, could he give us some idea as to the order in which the various transmitters will be coming into operation and also of the transmitting power of the various stations.

The second point I want to make— also about sound radio—relates to studios. I should like to join with Senator Ó Maoláin in congratulating the Minister on having allotted money —I think I understood him to say in this Bill—for the construction of sound radio studios at Montrose. I think there is no doubt about it that the staff of sound radio have been unfortunate because in the legislation, which set up Telefís Éireann, there was a sum of money set aside for the construction of sound radio studios. I understand that, in due course, it was swallowed up by higher expenses than expected on television and, as far as some studios are concerned, none of it has been used for that purpose. Permission was given, of course. I am not suggesting that it was done in any underhand way. We are now in the position that Radio Éireann has been in existence for 40 years and, to this day, it has no studios. We must be the only country in Europe that has no studios. There are various rooms which were thrown together to form studios in the GPO, some branch postoffices were taken over and the Symphony Orchestra broadcast from a dancehall. In the main, these places are extremely unsatisfactory. I should like to ask the Minister whether we could hope that in the not too distant future some studios might be provided. The position has never been good. It has now become rather urgent because with the new VHF service, it will become obvious to the ordinary listener how unsatisfactory from the point of view of sound and acoustics these temporary studios are. They have been there for 40 years but they are still temporary. I should like to hear from the Minister whether it is hoped in the relatively near future to build the sound studios at Montrose.

I wonder if I might put one final question to the Minister? Can he give us the three programmes which have the top TAM rating on television?

I should like to ask is there any prospect of having colour television in the foreseeable future.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Before this disorder goes any further, I should like the Minister to reply. Questions may be asked after the Minister has replied and before the question is put.

I am sure Senators are all satisfied that they have had a good long innings today. The debate was much longer than I thought it would be but nevertheless it was interesting. I think it was the first speaker who pointed out that what is important is what television and sound broadcasting will do from the national point of view. However, Senators were permitted an opportunity of dealing with practically every aspect of broadcasting. In fact, I thought they had quite a field day because I only now discovered that you can use this to talk about anything. You could say that the growing of daffodils is a pleasant pastime and say there should be a programme to deal with it and develop from there.

I want to confine myself at the start to some of the features that concern me directly. I shall deal with the questions which were raised in a broad way without attempting to deal with the individual points which I hope will ultimately be of great benefit to the Authority in arriving at the type of programme which they think would be acceptable to the greater number of people. At the moment they are considering appointing a Director of Programmes and I think we have many potential Directors of Programmes here in the Seanad who covered the wide field of what a good programme should be. I am not saying that in any disparaging way.

The purpose of the Bill—and I take it that it that it has been fairly satisfactory because few people, if any, referred to it—is to continue the payment of the net receipts from licence fees to the Authority. These fees are collected by my Department and after deducting the cost of collection the proceeds are handed over to the RTE Authority. I may say at this stage that in changing the name to Radio Telefís Éireann it is hoped that the initials RTE will be generally used. In the Bill there is no provision for a subsidy. The 1960 Act provided for a subsidy of £500,000 which has been taken up and consumed. Under one section of that Act, the Authority is obliged to pay their way and not merely to pay their way but to provide for capital development out of revenue. I think this provision was put in to provide against a possible loss on the part of sound broadcasting as a result of being taken from under the wing of direct departmental or Government control.

Someone asked on what project they intended to spend capital. I should point out that satellite transposers and VHF transmitters are being erected throughout the country and additional buildings are now being erected at Montrose. It is the intention to move the entire office staff to a separate building, leaving the studio entirely for broadcasting. There is also the replacement of equipment and materials. These are the things on which money is being spent and will be spent in the immediate future. The last speaker advocated the early removal of sound broadcasting from the GPO to Montrose. That is something which we should like to see undertaken as soon as possible but it would be a very big undertaking and one which would cost a lot of money.

Provision was made in the last amending Bill for an extra one million pounds by way of repayable State investment. This has not yet been used and there is available a substantial amount of the £2 million which was provided in the original Act. While the Authority have not repaid any of the capital advanced by the State, they continue to pay interest on it. They had a good net balance last year and are able to finance out of current capital the work on the studios, both for television and sound broadcasting. We hope they will be able to make provision for capital development programmes in the future but when you consider the project of removing the sound broadcasting from the GPO, this will be a very large amount.

The Bill makes provision for the net licence fee receipts to be handed over for the next five years—the period ending 31st March, 1970. This forms a substantial proportion of the revenue. We naturally availed of the opportunity to make a few other minor changes, of which changing the name of the Authority is one. Another is the question of making it possible for the Authority to promote a servant to be an official— which Senators will be asked to consider on Committee Stage—and there are a few other technical improvements of the original draft. As well as that, we have made more explicit the provision in previous legislation for the Authority to do certain things. Telefís Scoile is an example of that. The Authority have operated that programme but under section 16 of the Act it was not made specific that they had the power to do this type of work outside normal broadcasting hours. In the Bill we are spelling that out in order to remove any doubt as to the Authority's power in this respect.

Senators complained because this Bill was not introduced in the Seanad. I understand the original Bill was so introduced. This is a Bill almost entirely making provision for the payment of money and I thought it more appropriate that it should be introduced in the Dáil. I had no hard or strong feelings on the question of where it would be introduced. I may say that as Chief Government Whip in the other House, I helped to arrange that as much legislation as possible would be introduced here to make the load lighter on the other House. Certainly, I had no ulterior motive in introducing this Bill in the Dáil.

Most of the things discussed here are not my concern at all. The day-to-day running of Telefís Éireann, sound broadcasting and programming generally, are matters which the Authority deal with exclusively. I have certain powers and functions in so far as advertising and the allocation of time to broadcasting generally are concerned. It is only with my approval that more time for broadcasting can be given.

Can it be reduced?

Or reduced. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs must also approve any extension of our allocation of time for broadcasting generally. Senator O'Reilly from Long-ford seems to have a misconception on the question of advertising. He seems to think that entire programmes are sold to some outside bodies. That is not so and I do not think it is necessary to point it out to most Senators who already understand it. The time is sold simply to cover a specific advertisement and the part of the programme may be selected by the advertiser, allocated to him, and prices differ depending on the time. Some advertisers want time allocated to them when the TAM rating is highest and the cost to them is accordingly higher. This is all a matter for the Authority and there is no question of selling entire programmes and letting the advertisers concerned insert their notices wherever and whenever they choose. Ten per cent of the time is the period allowed to be occupied by commercials at a rate of not more than 7½ minutes in any one hour of broadcasting. That is how it stands at the moment. Telefís Éireann's time in this respect is fully allocated. The demand is greater than the time available— there is a queue, if you like.

That brings me to the point of commenting on various suggestions about advertising tobacco and drink. The smoking commercials were mentioned in the Dáil but I do not think there was any reference there to drink. It is a very big question, not as simple as one might think. In Britain, television cigarette advertising is prohibited. It is not, however, prohibited in the Press, on hoardings, in magazines or in the various other media. This, to my mind, makes nonsense of the objections to advertising these things on television.

One Senator said it was remarkable that the Minister for Health should be pointing out the dangers of cigarette smoking while the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was asking people to smoke. When a particular section of a newspaper is bought for advertising, it does not mean that the newspaper is advocating the use of the product so advertised. Senator Sheehy Skeffington pointed out that his father prohibited advertising in a paper he produced. That would be exceptional. If advertisements appear on television, it does not mean the Minister wishes everyone to use all the products advertised. The advertisers buy the time to promote the sales of their products and it does not necessarily follow that I, the Government, the Dáil or the Seanad approve of any of these products.

Some people seem to think—I should like to believe it is correct—that the efficacy of such advertising on television is completely out of this world in the impact it has on the viewing public. I am sure the people advertising on television will be glad to hear of the trend of the debate here. We seem to think television advertising has an almost compelling appeal. I do not agree. I do not think people regard television advertising in that all-important way. Admittedly, it has a great amount of success.

However, the matter of cigarette advertising will sooner or later have to be tackled in a definite way. There are regulations laid down already as to the way in which these advertisements may be presented. Advertisements of cigarettes, tobacco, beer and spirits, are not generally shown before 7.30 p.m. The manner in which these advertisements may be shown is covered by a code of regulations. The question of whether we may treat beer and spirits advertising in the same way as we may have to deal with smoking advertising is a totally different matter. I have the greatest possible sympathy for the brewers and distillers because they seem to be people from whom everybody wants to get money and to whom nobody wants to give anything. The farmers want to grow barley for them and the Revenue Commissioners want to get money from them.

We have had people posing as defenders of the country's morals. We must have a modest, reasonable outlook towards this matter. It has been said this may lead to an increase in the consumption of intoxicating drink in this country. In fact there has been a decline in drunkenness. Moderation is practised to a much greater extent than ever before and this is an important factor. To my mind, the position was much more serious when we had far more of what is known as secretive drinking. That was much more dangerous. One must tread very lightly in this respect. It is very easy to get up and pose as a magnaminous character deeply concerned about the wellbeing and morals of everybody. It is so easy to do that. I feel that one must use some sound reason and judgement and commonsense in these matters. Since the Marriage Feast of Cana, people have been enjoying a drink, and long before it. A person who can in moderation enjoy one does very often see the best of life. A person who cannot take it without being drunk should not use it at all. Such people should have Pioneer pins.

That, I think, pretty well sums up what the position is with regard to intoxicating liquor. It is a matter like everything else in which the important word "moderation" applies, as in so many things. I am not going to say or to give this House the impression that I think one will allow a medium, either sound or television, so far as it lies in my power to prevent it to be wrongly used to in any way spread the dangers of drink. I am sure that I am as conscious and the Authority are as conscious as anybody here of the dangers inherent in allowing this sort of thing to go too far. We do get occasional complaints about young girls being shown in advertisements, and this is something which the Authority are already aware of. I am sure they will be capable of taking the necessary action if they feel that at any time the danger line in that respect has been reached.

I do not want to go any further except to say that I do not anticipate any serious action being taken against the advertisers of intoxicating drinks. I want to assure the House that this thing will not be allowed to get out of hand. It does turn up a fair amount of money in advertising but that is not just the reason why anybody would be slow to abandon this advertising as of now. The figures are much higher than those, incidentally, which the speakers have been quoting. I will give the correct figures. This is a question of whether we should discriminate against producers of particular products on one of the advertising media available to them or go all out and not allow them to advertise in the press or any other media available. If we prohibit the advertising on one medium, we should do it on the entire media available.

Drink produced last year in advertising revenue £184,000. That showed an increase of £40,000 on the previous year. Cigarettes produced £176,000 which is £7,000 less than the previous year. This comes about as a result of competition. Somebody said that the distillers or the brewers would feel happy if they were precluded in the morning from using this advertising medium. Perhaps they would, but they would concentrate anew on some other medium and use more money in advertising elsewhere. I do not think that really is the answer. People who say that you can have a product on the market without advertising are talking nonsense. Senator O'Reilly was one of those who said that he did not like advertising at all and that there was something suspicious about it. I am afraid that all these salesmen and the best sales psychologists in the world are perfectly well aware that products only hold the market in proportion to the manner in which they are advertised consistently.

Before I run over the other speakers' views, I should like to mention the general trend of the programmes. I am responsible for seeing that the provisions of section 17 are observed by the Authority. I have mentioned this usually when I have had occasion to speak. Senator Garret FitzGerald, when he spoke as the first speaker here, seemed to cast some doubt and ambiguity on the whole wisdom or the actual provisions of section 17, which states that the Authority are obliged to bear constantly in mind the national aims of restoring the national language. He questioned as to who was capable of stating what the national aims were. I think that he was being rather naive when he dealt with that. Nobody has any doubt in his mind as to what that section actually means and refers to.

This section and this pamphlet which Senator FitzGerald referred to and from which Senator Ó Maoláin quoted are very important. I do not want to be always harping on this, but we need not have any television in this country at all if we are prepared to emulate the type of television programme transmitted from other stations. We could have the necessary apparatus to ensure that we receive programmes from those stations properly. In many parts of the country we do receive them. In County Donegal where I live, I can have UTV, BBC or Radio-Telefís Éireann. We could have transposers erected to bring in other television. We need not have television of our own if we were prepared to do that but we ought to have what is distinctively our own television. We have a culture of our own; we have our own way of life, if not completely devoid of vulgarity. Some people seem to think that we must portray the stage Irishman type. I do not think that this is essential at all. I do not think that that comes into it.

We can have the most beautiful programmes flavoured with the real Irish culture and the Irish image. This need not be a language programme every minute of the day. I am not in favour of those who think that you can have a crash language revival programme on television and at the same time, get all the people to view it. You have to make a programme interesting. You have to get it to them in a gradual manner in which you will cultivate an interest in the language, I do not agree with those speakers who said that "Labhair Gaeilge Linn" was not an interesting or useful programme. I think it is excellent. Some of the programmes made bilingually are most useful and they assist people who may not be fluent speakers. The Irish language programmes are great for people with a firm knowledge of the language such as native speakers. But these may attract the interest even of those who are opposed to it—and they are quite a few—and this should be the type of easy way in many of our programmes. I am all in favour of the announcers opening up with Irish and using a bit of the language whenever it is possible, even in announcing programmes entirely — films produced from abroad or anywhere where they can be announced in Irish and very often are. They mostly are now, and this is very good.

The overall effect of section 17 is something which we can measure tangibly in the amount of space allocated as years go on to the different types of programme. A careful scrutiny of the overall allocation of time will show that the Authority is making a serious effort to live up to their obligations in that respect. Certainly the members are aware of their responsibilities, because I have occasion frequently to sit down and discuss with them and I can assure the House that as a body of nine people with Mr. Andrews as Chairman, they are very well alive to the requirements and to the proper image that they think collectively television should have in this country.

We have had some 18 or 19 speakers here, all of whom gave their personal views on the type of programmes they would like. They undertook to criticise the programmes which they had been viewing from time to time. They advocated the different type of programmes they would like. I would say that if one took a careful analysis of the desires and views of the entire speakers one would find great difficulty in producing a programme that would suit even this Chamber. All we can do is speak for ourselves, each one as an individual. That is all I can do. I am not going to say whether anyone is right or wrong when they claim a certain programme is right or wrong. I might only be giving my individual view. Perhaps I might be doing a little bit better than that because in the few months I have been Minister, I have tried, as a matter of obligation, to interpret all the views, look objectively at this whole thing and get as many people's views as possible in the entire country. For that reason, perhaps I have got a kind of TAM rating of my own. My view would be a lot different to what it was a year ago because I feel obliged to take an objective view the whole time and I try to assess for myself what are the views of a cross section of the people.

The Authority have a much better means. They have the TAM rating system. This brings us down to the basic facts of this whole question of programming. Senator Sheehy Skeffington was perfectly right when he quoted George Bernard Shaw and said: "Do not give them what they want, give them what is good for them". It is not always correct to give them what they want. It could be very simple to give them what they want and be guided by TAM rating entirely. In fact, we would have the Late Late Show the whole day, to take the extreme view.

The RTE Authority have an obligation. As you know, there are three high objectives set by all television media throughout the world. Those are to educate, to inform and to entertain. Those three very high objectives which were so much stressed in the Pilkington Report on broadcasting are not so easy of achievement when you are dealing with a medium depending on commercials for its revenue and when you are dealing with a medium which is in competition with a couple of other stations. One has to give way very often but those are the objectives towards which the Authority strives and will keep striving towards, to educate, to inform and to entertain. This could possibly be done all in one programme but very often to do any one entirely requires separate treatment, if you like. It is not always possible just to have the type of thing you would like the people to get, particularly in the matter of education. It is not always possible to give them the thing you would like to give them just because you are depending on the revenue from advertising, which is entirely controlled by the TAM rating of your programme. Very often, unfortunately, if you give them the thing that you might regard as being for the greatest good, the viewing public would be very small.

I was asked in that context, to let you know what the top three TAM ratings are. They are "Tolka Row""The Late Late Show" and "Quicksilver". There are a few other close runners such as "The Virginian". Those are very often some of the programmes we get mostly criticised but those are the top ratings. It is interesting that the programmes about which we get the most complaints are very often the ones that are viewed by the greatest number of people. That is only logical. Very often the programmes that are most condemned are viewed by the greatest number of people.

I am not going to be dragged into the question of the quality of any of the shows that have recently been the subject of criticism but I should like to say this in defence of the people producing the programmes. I think that from the moral point of view their programmes compare favourably with any transmissions in the world. The occasional lapses that occur are ununavoidable if you want to have a live and open show. This is the exception which goes to prove that those things occur infrequently. We do not want them to occur at all but we are prepared to accept they are unavoidable under certain circumstances. This is bound to happen in a programme, such as the one that has been mentioned, an open live programme where people are apt to say anything.

It is not always easy, and the fact that those things occur so seldom is in itself a very high tribute to the overall presentation. I think nobody need have any serious worry about how the medium will develop in that respect. We have people in charge of it who are capable of ensuring that they will keep on to the line. I have no doubt they will be frequently reminded if they deviate from the straight and narrow for one moment. This is good. That is the reason why I was glad there was so much criticism in this House because in the Dáil I was afraid because everybody had been so satisfied with the whole conduct of the two media that the Authority would be lulled into a sense of complacency and think they were really the tops. There is nothing like always striving to be better. I think most Senators here started off saying television is not a bad medium at all, that it has been a great success but they would like to do this. Of course, they went on with all those requests. I could not possibly go into all of them in the time at my disposal. I should like to say, as I said at the start, that they will be on the record and I am sure the Authority and everybody concerned, right down to the assistant producer in different programmes, will read them and will study them. I hope they will be of immense value to them.

The Authority get those complaints from various people throughout the country but I am sure this debate will be of interest to them. I have already dealt with Senator FitzGerald's interpretation of section 17 with which I do not agree. He referred to section 18 also where he seemed to fear the Authority were interpreting that too strictly with regard to the balancing of political broadcasts. I do not know about that. When I was the Chief Whip of the Government Party, we used to meet the Controller in conjunction with the Whip of the Fine Gael Party and the Whip of the Labour Party. We used to work out an agreed system for political broadcasts. I am sure that is still possible. I do not know if it is still continued but certainly, before the election, we had a series of political broadcasts where we agreed with the Controller of Programmes on the balance that would be given.

Senator McQuillan, Senator FitzGerald and Senator O'Quigley condemned the method of interviewing and they also condemned the interviewers. We had a few Senators who afterwards came along and had a few nice words to say about the interviewer. I think what they were complaining about was that when some members of the Fianna Fáil Government come back from abroad on occasions, they are not confronted by people who would have a really hard and controversial interview with them and say——

It was not on that ground at all—technique.

Senator Garret FitzGerald and Senator McQuillan seemed to think that the interviewers were putting the words into the Taoiseach's mouth. I know the Taoiseach's performances at interviews as well as anybody and he is prepared to take it anyway he gets it; sometimes the harder he gets it the better he answers. I do not think we should condemn the interviewers, but here again, I am only voicing a personal view. I have been watching these interviewers pretty regularly. There are two types; there is the professional or employed interviewer, who may be a journalist sent out from the station, or there is the expert, an economist perhaps, who is called in to do the interview or, maybe, part of it. These are two different types. I agree with Senator Sheehy Skeffington when he said he found the treatment very nice when he was interviewed.

The only thing we might find wrong is that they do not always ask all the questions we would have liked to ask ourselves. This is the purpose of the interview; to get the person directly concerned with some controversial issue at the time to answer a lot of questions which you and I and everyone would like to ask for ourselves, and hear them reply to those questions. It is most interesting, most informative and certainly most stimulating. It gives to the people in rural Ireland a means of getting face to face with information which is available only to a few people otherwise. I am not too satisfied—and I say again here all we can express are personal views—I am not too satisfied with all the complaints about the interviewer.

I have my own personal feelings about some of the programmes mentioned here. I think "Newsbeat" is excellent and also "66". I like the programmes with a rural background, which portray life in rural Ireland, whether they are serials, such as we have, or not. These are all good and these people who talk about Telefís Baile Átha Cliath have to look over the entire programmes for the year when they will find there are a good many rural programmes. There again, this helps to give us a proper image. I think these are the type of programmes we should like to see.

Senator O'Reilly thought I showed a lack of courtesy by not being more explanatory in my opening statement. My statement covered exactly what the Bill is about. It simply makes provision for the payment of the broadcasting licences to the Authority, and provides for a few matters which you Senators will meet on Committee Stage. I also dealt with the question he raised about the time allotted to actual broadcasting.

Senator McAuliffe thought there should be better programmes on a Sunday and I mention that merely because I agree with him. Other people might think they are lovely but, there again, I should like to see more interesting programmes on Sunday.

Senator Ó Maoláin said a lot of things I intended saying myself. He made some suggestion about an ombudsman—or some liaison between the Houses and the Authority—but I would not agree; I do not think it is necessary——

An advisory committee.

——an advisory committee. For the present, I do not think the need for that arises because it is so easy to get the necessary contacts and information, even through myself.

Better news coverage from abroad was mentioned by a few speakers, including Senator Ó Maoláin, Senator Garret FitzGerald and, I think, Senator O'Quigley. They claim that, instead of having ad hoc foreign representatives, we should have a wholetime news supply from foreign countries. As Senators will know, this would cost a tremendous amount of money. I understand that the news system is geared up to all that is available in the supply of news from really dependable sources of supply. They have access to whatever sources the press has, or whatever is available to any other Television Authority elsewhere. But they do not maintain foreign news correspondents. They do use the occasional important event to send a representative abroad. As Senators have said, the ad hoc arrangement has worked out very well, such as the coverage of the Ecumenical Council from Rome, and some other events like that.

In all the references made by different Senators, I was a little disappointed that more of them did not deal with sound broadcasting. This is inclined to be eclipsed in our minds by television, despite the fact that, with the transistor radio, there is a remarkable listening public now for sound broadcasting. People are inclined to forget this. Practically every car is fitted with a radio; people take them on picnics; carry them in their pockets, and the coming of the transistor has left sound broadcasting available to practically everybody. That is the reason why we should like sound broadcasting to be regarded as important as before. I was a little disappointed that more people did not refer to that.

Only one speaker, in all the culture we have in the Upper House here— and I was very impressed indeed—referred to the Symphony Orchestra and the Light Orchestra, two of the items which cost us a good deal of worry in so far as they are very costly to maintain and have to be borne on the revenue of the RTE Authority, as we call it now. They are both very good orchestras, of which we have a right to be very proud. We have had many suggestions time and again as to how the cost should be met, and I was a little disappointed that some suggestions were not made here. In the Dáil it was mentioned that the deficit on sound radio was mainly due to the fact that the Symphony Orchestra had to be paid out of that account. That is almost entirely true. This is something which Senators could keep in mind when they are thinking of the deficit on the sound broadcasting account; that it carries the Symphony Orchestra bill, which is a fairly heavy one. The use of the Orchestras on television more than heretofore is advocated by Senator Honan. These are used to a great extent but it is not possible to use them just as often as one would like. Despite what we may say here, I am not too sure that the TAM rating for classical music would be very high. I did see the orchestra on television and I thought it was very nice. The light orchestra is heard on sound radio fairly often and I think it is very popular.

Senator Mrs. Ahern mentioned the programmes in connection with the 1916 celebrations. I can assure her that there will be a number of them and that they will do great credit to the Authority. They will be worked up to a high level during the Easter Week period and they will taper off towards the end of the year. They will cover virtually the whole period. Senator Quinlan was envious of what I think is an excellent programme——

Not envious, just asking about it.

I thought he was casting aspersions on their efforts. We should have more of this type of programme. It is an excellently produced programme.

I should like it to get the full support of everyone in order to encourage more production of that type. There are 22 episodes and I think they will be well received. Senators have talked about programmes that should be educational, informative and entertaining at the same time.

Does the Minister not think the rest of Ireland should take some part in it?

The Senator has seen only a few of the episodes. There are 22. The Senator was critical of the treatment of the subject. It covers the history of the country from many angles.

The subject is all right.

I am afraid that if the depopulation of the West continues, we shall find ourselves back in the Pale again. That battle is still going on.

The Minister may have misunderstood me. I meant that the personnel were recruited from within the Pale.

I did misunderstand the Senator. He finished by saying that Corkmen——

All the best Corkmen come regularly to Dublin.

References were made to the personality cult. That is an inevitable development on television. Whether it should be encouraged is another matter.

It is all right if they are personalities.

Some people by frequent appearances make themselves known and become personalities. Senators will have noticed that very often the newspapers try to cultivate this personality cult by building them up weekly or by featuring them as writers. This personality cult is mentioned in the Pilkington Report, I think. The BBC took steps to prevent it from developing but at the same time they thought it was necessary that certain people should become known.

It was also suggested that they are not professional, that people who have no experience are being used. I think they are doing a good job considering the fact that they are not professionals. That is one of the things that appeals to me. We get the best out of people if they are themselves and not pretending to be something else. I do not want to say anything else about the personality cult except that I think television is bound to throw up a few personalities.

There is no objection to the genuine personalities. It is the artificial creation of personalities that is annoying.

The treatment of political matters on television was referred to and particularly the programme "The Hurler on the Ditch." I do not want to deal with that in any individual way. Some Senators suggested that it would be preferable if we had politicians themselves on this programme to be interviewed or even to take part in the debate. I do not think that is what is intended on this programme at all. These are the political correspondents—the pol. corrs. as they are popularly known—of the leading newspapers. They write the weekly political critiques in the different dailies, and they are on this programme to give the view of the ordinary man—the hurler on the ditch. I always think they are good when they say nice things about me and bad when they attack me. Human nature being what it is, that is bound to affect one's thinking so far as this programme is concerned. It has a high TAM rating. When it has had more time it will probably develop. I am just voicing a personal opinion and those who think it should be replaced by Ministers and leaders of other Parties——

Not replaced but supplemented.

There is nothing to stop them having politicians on the programme occasionally or members of either House. I do not know whether they will broaden it in that respect as time goes on. The purpose of the programme is to get the pol. corrs. of the daily papers together. They are the people who are accustomed to write about us and to criticise us. Perhaps it is fitting that they should come together and be there on the screen before us. In the Press they can write virtually anything they like so long as they do not libel us and sometimes they do even that.

Why not have a companion programme that would bring out the other aspects?

Lastly, I should like to say that there is not the slightest hope of having television coverage of either House of the Oireachtas. As far as I know this applies to every parliament in the world. I can assure the Seanad that the Government are entirely opposed to it and I do not think any Party are in favour of it.

Independents are.

It would have the effect of making Deputies and Senators talk to the television and not to the debate. Every Senator will agree that even when we meet at local government level, when we hold meetings at which the Press are not present our discussions are more effective and useful because people say what they feel like saying. When the Press are present, members seem to speak to the Press and through the Press to the public rather than engage in the serious business before them. I do not think there is the remotest chance of having television coverage of the Oireachtas.

The Leas-Chathaoirleach has been very patient with me, allowing me to ramble all over the place to cover most of the points made by Senators. I do not know if I have satisfied the Senators but I at least have given them some consolation by my assurance that the things discussed here will be taken note of by the Authority, by the Chairman in particular, because whenever I discuss matters with him, I find that he is conscious of every item raised in either House. Indeed, I find that the Authority are very alive to the requirements stipulated in the Act and that they are only too anxious to present in our broadcasting media a true Irish image by way of healthy productions and good type programmes. I am afraid it will not be possible for a long time, if ever, to have all home-produced programmes. No station in the world has all home-produced material. Two-thirds of the ITV programmes are home produced material, and we produce about half, a tremendous achievement for a commercial station that has to pay its way.

What does it cost per unit to collect the licence fee?

I cannot give a percentage. The entire collection cost is £200,000. We only charge the actual cost and make no profit on the collection which, very often, involves sending out detection units and so forth. I feel sure the Senator appreciates that there are still a few people who have not paid their licences.

I have been led to believe that the Post Office deducts a certain amount from each £5.

It is not done like that. It is the actual cost. It is fixed charge per licence. There is a factual assessment of the cost of collection which would not be so costly if we did not have to maintain detection units which tour the country, with very good results I am glad to say.

Will the Minister take special steps to bring the proceedings of this House during this debate formally before the Television Authority? As far as I can gather, there has not been any member of the Authority present during the debate and I suggest that shows a great lack of interest on their part.

That is a further accusation.

I can assure him that they will read every bit of the debate.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cathaoirleach

Next Stage?

I should like to point out that I would be anxious to get all Stages on the next occasion. There is a time limit in the Bill in that it provides for the payment on moneys as from the beginning of the financial year.

The Minister can rely on our co-operation.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 2nd March, 1966.