Disquiet at RTÉ reaching into Northern Ireland
Wed, Dec 30, 2009
MAST AT BORDER: POSSIBLE POLITICAL implications of the erection of an RTÉ transmitter on the Derry-Donegal border concerned Whitehall and Stormont officials in 1979, according to Stormont releases.
The decision to establish a transmitter station at Holywell Hill in Co Donegal on the Border with Derry was raised in a letter from the British Home Office to the Northern Ireland office (NIO) in May 1979.
A home office official E Soden observed that, while the British government had no engineering objection to the transmitter, it proposed to ask “the Éire administration” to limit its power to 5kw in the direction of Northern Ireland.
Even with this restriction, the official noted, RTÉ programmes would be received more widely in Derry and the North West.
The official added: “There is some speculation that this may be the first move by the Irish to extend coverage of their television services to Northern Ireland.”
In further correspondence on the matter Stormont official B D Palmer cited the “grandiose idea” of Conor Cruise O’Brien when minister for post and telegraphs for “an all-Ireland cultural exchange by television”.