The catalogue cover for the Irish Radio and Television Show held at the Manison House, Dublin in September 1958.

Television viewing in 1950s Ireland was mainly confined to the north and east coast of the country, where signals could be picked up from U.K. stations such as the BBC and ITV (after 1955).

In the rest of the country it was practically unknown. The Department of Posts and Telegraphs under Secretary Leon Ó Broin had tried to provoke debate at political level as early as 1951, but was faced with a reluctance to commit public money to the new medium – to the extent that Leon Ó Broin was even denied an application to buy a television set for his own Department.

However, in the second half of the decade, interest in television gathered pace following demonstrations of the new device at trade shows and electrical goods retailers.

In 1957, the Government appointed a commission to report into establishing an Irish television service. After visits to the U.S.A. and Great Britain, the commission recommended that Irish television should develop along purely commercial lines. However, after extensive debate around the Cabinet table, much of it informed by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs who were determined that television should be available for the whole country and should promote Irish culture, it was decided to adopt the dual-funded approach still in existence today.