Andrews And RTE Authority

 

A chara, - As a member of the "language lobby" (your heading in your issue of January 1st/2nd), which Eamonn Andrews used as an excuse to resign "on a principle" as chairman of the RTE Authority in April, 1966 (having heard that he would not be reappointed, anyway, when his term of office ended in June of that year), please permit me to state the simple facts.

In June 1965, the former first lady of our land, Mrs Phyllis O'Kelly, Ruairi Brugha and myself were appointed to full vacancies in the authority.

At that time there was virtually no Irish used on the television service and we felt it our duty to endeavour to rectify that dire situation. We immediately found that even our minimal proposals were being strongly resisted by the chairman and by most of the other five members of the authority. We discovered, however, that some of them had turned against the chairman's general broadcasting policy and were open to compromise. Eventually, by a majority vote, the authority, in its generosity, decided to allow 30 minutes of programming in Irish per week!

By this time the chairman had confirmation that he would not be reappointed when his term of office expired in June. In anticipation of that, he resigned and - making virtue out of necessity - announced that he was doing so on "a point of principle" regarding the use of Irish on television.

Let me add that when we proposed, in the summer of 1965, that adequate preparations be made to broadcast major commemorative programmes about the Easter Rising in the following year, Mr Andrews strongly resisted, but the majority of the other authority members backed us on that issue. In the event, the RTE programmers produced memorable material. - Is mise,

Donall O Morain,

An Charraig Dhubh, Co Bhaile Atha Cliath.