President of Ireland Éamon de Valera launches new television service and addresses the audience in both Irish and English.

Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude.

President Éamon de Valera is the first person to speak on Ireland's television station. Addressing the audience in Irish and English the President outlines his hopes and fears for television.

"As I have said, I am privileged in being the first to address you on our new service, Telefís Éireann. I hope the service will provide for you all sources of recreation and pleasure, but also information, instruction, and knowledge.

I must admit that sometimes when I think of television and radio and their immense power I feel somewhat afraid. Like atomic energy, it can be used for incalculable good but it can also do irreparable harm. Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude.

A persistent policy pursued over radio and television apart from imparting knowledge can build up the character of a whole people, inducing sturdiness and vigour and confidence. On the other hand, it can lead through demoralisation to decadence and dissolution.

Sometimes one hears when one urges higher standards in information and recreational services, that one must give the people what they want and the competition, unfortunately, leads in the wrong direction and so standards become lower and lower.

Now it is you the people who will ultimately determine what the programmes in Telefís Éireann are to be. If you insist on having presented to you the good and the true and the beautiful you will get these.

And I for one will find it hard to be convinced that good taste cannot be cultivated. I would find it hard to believe for example, that a person who views the grandeurs of the heavens or the wonders of this marvellous mysterious world in which the good God has placed us will not find more pleasure in that than in viewing, for example, some squalid domestic brawl or a street quarrel.

I feel sure that full use will be made of the immense repertory which is now at our disposal. Apart altogether from the wonders of nature we have the great achievements of man himself, masterpieces of architecture, engineering, sculpture, painting and who in looking at these or hearing the great musical compositions of great composers will want to descend to anything lower.

I have great hopes of this new service. I am confident that those who are in charge will do everything in their power to make it useful for the nation. And that they will bear in mind that we are an old nation and that we have our own distinctive characteristics and that it is desirable that these should be preserved. I am sure that they will do their part. And as I have said it is for the public now to do theirs.

I wish all those in charge God speed. And I wish all of you a very happy new year."