Radio Dublin raided twice in a week

Radio Dublin raided twice in a week
The aerial system to the rear of 58 Inchicore Road in 1988 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

After more than a month defying the new broadcasting laws, the inevitable happened in February 1989 when Radio Dublin was raided not once, but twice. The longest-running pirate station in Ireland and indeed the world was visited by Gardaí and Telecom Éireann officials shortly after 6am on Tuesday 7th February and transmission and studio equipment removed. The previous day the Supreme Court had dismissed an appeal by station owner Eamonn Cooke to prevent the Minister for Communications from instructing ESB and Telecom officials from cutting off the electricity and telephone supply to Cooke’s home in Inchicore. Radio Dublin was back on the air by 3pm but on 101 FM only. Four days later on 11th February at 8.20am, the station was raided for a second time but again returned after a few hours.

We’ve edited together two short recordings from that dramatic week to give a sense of the raids and Radio Dublin’s determination to keep going no matter what. The first minute or so was recorded at 9.20pm on 7th February and features Mike Wilson explaining what happened that morning. In the second, from sometime on 11th February, Mike Wilson introduces Eamonn Cooke who says that the aerial system was dismantled in the second raid. Cooke adds that programming is mostly taped for now and that the station has changed location. We thank John Breslin for these recordings.

Radio Dublin continued for many more years, only closing down permanently in 2002 following the conviction of Cooke for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

Radio Dublin fights attempt to cut off power and phones

Radio Dublin fights attempt to cut off power and phones
Brian Greene’s Radio Dublin badge from the mid-1980s

Radio Dublin was still on air in the second month of 1989 despite an attempt by the authorities to cut off its electricity and power. On 30th January, the High Court rejected an attempt by the station to extend an injunction against the Minister for Communications preventing the cut-off of supply but Radio Dublin was granted a stay of execution of a week.

In this recording of part of his weekly Station News slot on Sunday 5th February, Radio Dublin owner Eamonn Cooke said that the station would take a case to the Supreme Court the following day. He asked listeners to ‘say a few prayers for us’ and to call Minister Ray Burke at his home to complain. Radio Dublin would in fact suffer its first raid two days later. Sound quality is poor on this recording, but apparently modulation was very low that day. We thank John Breslin for the donation.

Radio Dublin continued for many more years, only closing down permanently in 2002 following the conviction of Cooke for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

Radio Dublin still going after attempt to cut off power

Radio Dublin still going after attempt to cut off power
The rear of Radio Dublin at 58 Inchicore Road in 1988 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

Radio Dublin was the most high-profile of the pirates to defy the new broadcasting laws that came into effect on at midnight on 31st December 1988. The station was served with a prohibition notice to cut off its electricity and phones and it left the air suddenly at 9.44am on 19th January 1989, returning within an hour using a generator. However, embarrassingly for the Minister for Communications, the station went to the High Court later that day and got an injunction obliging the authorities to restore services until the end of the month.

This is a recording of Radio Dublin owner Eamonn Cooke on his weekly Station News slot on Sunday 22nd January 1989, where he mentions the injunction and the upcoming High Court challenge to the constitutionality of the broadcasting laws. He says that Radio Dublin is still on AM, FM and shortwave and hopes to continue until April or May despite the uncertainty. Cooke also announces that 15 or 16 pirates are still on air or have returned, including Radio North in Donegal, Erneside Community Radio in Cavan, Radio Star in Monaghan and Zee 103 in Louth. There are some breaks in the recording and it seems to be an edited version. Thanks to John Breslin for the donation.

Radio Dublin continued for many more years, only closing down permanently in 2002 following the conviction of Cooke for sexually abusing children. He was jailed in 2003 and again in 2007 and died in 2016 while on temporary release. If you require support with this issue, you can contact the organisation One in Four.

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco
Community Radio Drogheda sticker (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

In September 1981, a Donegal man attempted to rescue his daughter from a compound owned by the Unification Church (the ‘Moonies’) in San Francisco. After they were refused admission, James Canning and about 30 Irish-American supporters tried to break into the building and remove Mary Canning. Drogheda journalist Niall O’Dowd, who worked with the Washington Post, was the only reporter to witness the incident and was contacted by media all over the world for comment.

Knowing that a local man was on the ground, Community Radio Drogheda (CRD) wanted to cover the drama and on his lunchtime show on 16th September 1981, Gavin Duffy interviewed Niall O’Dowd about the incident. No doubt it helped that Niall’s brother Michael was news editor at CRD. Niall O’Dowd went on to become a highprofile figure in Irish America, founding the Irish Voice Newspaper and Irish America magazine as well as the website Irishcentral.com. Another brother Fergus became a Fine Gael TD for Louth.

Community Radio Drogheda broke away from Boyneside Radio in July 1981 and operated a separate service until May 1982 when the two stations merged again. We thank Eddie Caffrey for his donation of this recording, which begins with an ad break before the interview.

Local kids take over Liberties Radio

Local kids take over Liberties Radio
Owner Sammy Prendergast at 16 Weaver Square in 1987 (photo courtesy of DX Archive).

Liberties Local Community Radio (LLCR) was launched on 4th April 1986 from Weaver’s Square in the heart of the Liberties area of inner-city Dublin. Broadcasting on 1035 kHz AM and originally 96.7 FM, it promised to be a community radio station for the Liberties. This never really happened but the station carved out its own niche and many high-profile broadcasters passed through its doors including Peter Madison, Teena Gates and Tony Allan. The station later broadcast on 104 and 107 FM and was known as Gold 104 for a time. It closed down on 20th December 1988.

LLCR was owned by the late Sammy Prendergast who installed aerials for many of the pirates. The station was situated above a shop at 16 Weaver Square where local kids would often hang out. Security was lax and sometimes DJs didn’t show up or lock the door to the station. One evening, a bunch of kids got into the studio and took to the air for a few minutes until the phone rang and someone told them what was going on. Listen until the very end for the punchline!

The recording is undated but is from the second half of 1988. It is shared with kind permission of Kevin Branigan. Thanks also to Barry Dunne for passing it on to us.