01: Coverage of General Elections
The 1965 General Election signalled the start of a new era for political reporting.
Television and radio coverage of the 1965 General Election signalled the start of a new era for political reporting. Television was a potentially powerful tool for election candidates to use in promoting their policies, but it was a new means of communication and one that had yet to be mastered. Now for the first time, the Irish electorate could see and hear politicians as they campaigned. Analysis, comment and reaction to election results created a new spectator sport as RTÉ television gave over its entire day's output to covering the count.
Radio too for the first time devoted over eight hours of its schedule to results and analysis. One commercial traveller wrote to the RTV Guide, "I was glued to my set all day, and I'm afraid that my business was nearly pushed into second place". Election junkies were now guaranteed their fix.
Extensive coverage of the build-up to a general election and the results from the counts are now an essential part of RTÉ output. Since 1965, RTÉ audiences have watched and listened to generations of politicians make and break promises and debate with their adversaries. Cameras and microphones have been there to record the reaction of the victorious and the vanquished as political careers are born and die.
Politicians have moved from addressing rallies at church gates to blogging online. RTÉ has moved from using chalk and blackboard to providing detailed computer analysis of results that are delivered on air, on screen and online.
Revisit moments of drama, entertainment and history from RTÉ television and radio coverage of past general elections.