Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 2 Mar 1966

Vol. 60 No. 17

Public Business. - Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill, 1965: Committee and Final Stages.

Before we take up consideration of the Committee Stage of this Bill, I should like to indicate that I have ruled that Amendments Nos. 1 to 4, standing in the name of Senator Garret FitzGerald, are out of order on the ground that they are outside the scope of the Bill.

The Senator has been notified accordingly.

I accept the Chair's ruling and shall take another opportunity to raise the matters contained in the amendments.

Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill".

Arising out of section 2 where the Minister is handing over money in respect of broadcasting licence fees to the Authority, I want to ask the Minister has he given any further consideration to the matter raised on the last day about the advertising of drink on television. The Minister is making provision to hand over £1½ million, which is increasing at a quick rate, and will probably, assuming that the number of sets will increase almost 50 per cent within the next five years, reach over £2½ million. Surely when you are dealing with sums like that it is reasonable and proper that the House should ask the Minister to use his authority to see that the miserable £170,000 got from advertising the sale of alcoholic liquor will not be taken in future, that the Authority will be asked to desist from this as it poses a very great threat to our youth. At the age of 6 or 7 it impresses on the minds of children the jingle and the like about these various beers, and all this can have a very bad effect.

This matter may not be pursued. It is not within the scope of this section.

I am asking the Minister if in consideration for granting this very large sum to the Authority——

The Chair does not intend to allow the Minister to go outside the scope of this Bill.

If the House is not interested in this question——

The House is very interested in these matters but they have been dealt with on Second Stage. What we are now concerned with is what is in the Bill.

With deference, the Minister did not indicate his position on Second Stage, and before I can give my approval to this section I will have to have an assurance from the Minister that he is going to act on this matter.

Do I understand the Senator to say that I gave an assurance that I would act with regard to advertising of alcoholic liquor? I did not give any such assurance. What I said on this matter was that the question in relation to advertising drink and cigarettes would possibly have to be examined at some stage in a broader context. I did not agree that we could have any particular advertising precluded from one medium while various other media were allowed to advertise the same things. It covers a much bigger question than that of television alone. I cannot make any further statement than that at the moment. There is a code to which all advertising must conform, and drink is included. As of now, I have no specific proposal with regard to taking steps to deal with restricting or precluding or prohibiting completely advertising of alcoholic drink on television. I am afraid I could not give the Senator that assurance.

Surely television has a much greater effect than any other medium. I will have to ask to be allowed to register my protest by dissenting from this section, because I am not satisfied that the Minister or the Government are adequately concerned about the menace posed by advertising alcoholic drink on Telefís Éireann. Consequently, I ask to be recorded as dissenting from the passing of this section.

Question put and agreed to, Senator Quinlan dissenting.
Sections 3 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass".

There are one or two things I should like to mention if I am not out of order. On Second Stage, I mentioned the question of interference to the Minister. I was hoping he might give some indication as to who was responsible for tracking down interference. Perhaps the Minister might deal with that in his reply. I think appeals have been made from time to time on Telefís Éireann to deal with the situation. Perhaps they might repeat those appeals. There is another matter I should like to deal with. The Minister dealt with it in his reply on Second Stage.

Provided the matter is covered in the Bill it will be all right to deal with it but if it is not it will not be all right.

I am afraid I would have to walk on a very tight rope and I am not in the mood for that.

With regard to the question of interference there is an advisory committee dealing with this matter. The Minister has power to prosecute, if necessary, if interference is caused but so far the Authority has not recommended prosecution in any case. They prefer to get co-operation which, up to now, they have been getting quite freely. We are trying to insist that all electric motors and ignition apparatus should not cause interference. When they are turned out new at the present time they are all fitted with the necessary suppressors. Quite frequently it is our experience that it is not outside interference from engines of mopeds which cause interruption in the service but interference from some of the gadgets, if I may use the word, within the household. People are usually advised to check their own electrical equipment and such things before they make complaints. When I say no prosecutions have been recommended, I want to add that the Minister can prosecute if the Authority so recommends. Due to the fact that sufficient co-operation has been forthcoming at all stages, they have been able to do very useful work so far without prosecution by getting the full co-operation of the owners of those vehicles and devices which are likely to cause interference.

More annoyance is caused to television viewers by the do-it-yourself merchants down the road, who have various gadgets plugged in, than by motor vehicles. The use of such gadgets in garages and elsewhere in the house, near the viewer's own house, causes the interference. People who plug in various gadgets and cause interference should be required to have some kind of suppressors installed.

Question put and agreed to.