The coming of television


Sir, – Dyrek Fay’s excellent article “An instrument so powerful: the coming of television to Ireland” (Books, January 11th) reminded me of the desire for a TV service, outside of Dublin city, for rural Ireland.

Great excitement ensued when, in the mid-1960s, RTÉ located a booster station on Mount Leinster, ensuring a strong black-and-white signal from Raidió Teilifís Éireann for those living in the Midlands and especially the southeast of the country.

An appetite developed for multichannel viewing, and during the 1980s a cable service operated in Waterford city, but not for those living outside of it. We relied on an illegal deflector system situated on a hilly site between Dunmore East and Woodstown. Mostly it relayed HTV, a Welsh station.

Similar deflector systems sprouted up in other parts of Ireland. Political pressure grew to have these deflector systems made legal and government minster Conor Cruise O’Brien counter-proposed that RTÉ would relay BBC Northern Ireland, so that everyone could have access to the BBC’s world-famous news service and other programmes.

The proposal was dropped, and we had to wait many years for satellite TV services to supply us with the channels that we take for granted today. – Yours, etc,