BETTER BROADCASTING FROM FREE STATE Transport Monopoly Sends Bus
And Tram Fares Up s00/0 From Our Special Correspondent Broadcasting from the Free State stations has improved very much during the past few months since Dr. Kiernan, previously secretary to the Free State High Commissioner in London, was appointed director of broadcasting.
Improvements in progress include: more mobility in the microphone; new shortwave receiving station; controversial debate broadcasts; improved news service. Estimates have been received for a travelling microphone, and the director contemplates comments on events of interest, pilgrimages, meetings, shows, pageants, sporting events, from all over the country. The short-wave receiver has already been used for relaying the Fisher-More canonisation ceremonies on May 19, and the Mass on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul from the Vatican, as well as other short-wave transmissions from the Continent. A permaneet site has not yet been secured, but the en gineers find better reception near the sea and Howth will probably be their choice.
Controversial debates in Irish and English are an attractive feature of the new programmes. Subjects are as far as possible topical—the Gaelic Athletic Association ban on foreign games, theatre versus cinema, the Ulster question, nationality in dra
ma and the speakers are encouraged to speak, not merely read a text. But demand exceeds supply and the station authorities do not find it easy to keep all the talks bright and catchy. A new feature from Athlone is "Passing Through," an impromptu interview with a person of note in the American station fashion. Here again results have been unequal, some of the interviews being highly successful, others less so.
It is hoped to lay out the cultural week something like this : —Monday : Science in popular language; Tuesday: Agriculture and general economics; Wednesday: Education and careers; Thursday: Ethics of government and politics; Friday : General literature, drama, etc.; Saturday: "Passing Through." For September Mr. Thomas E. Nevin, of the University College, Dublin, will speak on "Science and the Citizen" for the first two Mondays and Professor T. Dillon of Galway on the other two. D. Henry Kennedy will speak on agriculture on the first Tuesday and expert working farmers on the following Tuesdays. Arrangements have been made with the Minister for Agriculture to answer all questions asked by farmers through' the country arising out of lectures.
County radio committees have been, or are being, formed in Galway, Clare, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Wexford, and other counties will follow the lead to develop local talent and arrange broadcasts from each district, carried by landline to Dublin. The first of such broadcasts came through from Galway on July 23, and, being from the capital of the Gaeltacht, was entirely in Irish.
Two obvious criticisms can still be made against 2RN. Its transmitting power is far too low. Even in London one cannot tune into it when Palermo is working. And the artists' fees are ridiculous. £1 .1 . 0 for 1,500 words which have had to be submitted in summary and in extenso, re-written and delivered, is an insult. The government should be prepared to subsidise the station. Actually they make a profit on it. The estimated expenditure for the current year is £40,000, and revenue from licences, advertising, etc., at £45,000 to £50,000.
"Muintir na Tire," an organisation for the improvement of the conditions of farmers, held its 7th rural week-end at St. Colman's college, Fermoy, last week-end. The Rev. St. J. Thornhill, president of the college, congratulated the association on the plans it had inaugurated to help the unemployed, especially on a scheme in Co. Tipperary under which each unemployed person had received a small plot of land to cultivate.
Professor J. Lyons, M.Sc., A.R.C.Sc.I., in the course of a paper entitled "How the rural aspect depends on the profits of agriculture," pointed out that while Irishmen had good tastes in art, literature, music and dress, their houses and farms generally presented a more untidy and neglected appearance than those of England, Scotland, Denmark and other European countries.
This state of affairs he attributed in part to a bad tradition arising from the rotten system of land tenure of the last century which compelled tenants to be dirty and poor lest their rents might be raised; in part to the small profits from agriculture which .scarcely kept things going and left no room for improvements.
An increase of about 30 per cent. in agricultural prices would be necessary to remedy this state of affairs. In addition, the Muintir na Tire might assist by organising rural debates on social and economic matters, by lectures and suggestions to farmers. But the farmers could not be uplifted socially without an improvement in their economic conditions.
Increased tram and bus fares in Dublin, amounting in some instances to 50 per cent., following the transport monopoly and the prolonged strike of the early part of this year, have aroused many protests from users. The monopoly in rail and longroad transport was perhaps necessary, but that of the city services has certainly led to a reduction in employment, less frequent and accommodating services, and now to increased fares. Fortunately on many routes the railway offers independent service, of which the public shows an increasing disposition to avail themselves.