Roibeard Ó Faracháin recalls the early years of Radio Éireann and the issue of getting government funding for Irish radio.
Dublin born poet, critic, school teacher, actor, and broadcaster Roibeárd Ó Faracháin explains the challenges faced by Radio Éireann in the early days of Irish radio before the arrival of television.
Roibeard Ó Faracháin joined Radio Éireann in 1939 as Talks Officer and in the 1950s became Controller of Programmes retiring in 1974.
Politicians did not have a very high opinion of what Sean Lemass described as "The Old Hurdy Gurdy" on Henry Street. It was difficult to get politicians to fund a radio service. According to Roibeard Ó Faracháin,
The Department of Finance didn't believe in spending money on broadcasting at all.
Following World War II, there appeared to be some appetite from political circles for both an Irish language broadcasting service and an overseas service targeting mainly the United States. While proposals for both were abandoned, the discussions around the proposals served to highlight the need for investment in the broadcasting service.
They really didn’t treat us seriously for a long time until about 1947.
Throughout the 1940s, investment in Radio Éireann came in the form of outside broadcasting units, the establishment of the Radio Éireann Players and funding for recording technology.
This episode of 'Talking to John Bowman’ was broadcast on 2 December 1980. The presenter is John Bowman.
'Talking To John Bowman' was a series examining Ireland in the Twentieth Century. John Bowman speaks to some of the figures who have played prominent roles in the shaping of modern Ireland. Among those featured on the programme included Professor Desmond Williams, Leon Ó Broin, Dr Michael Scott, Professor Patrick Lynch, Professor W B Stanford and Helmut Clissmann.