Radio Leinster was one of Dublin’s niche pirates, featuring an easy listening and chat format in contrast with the chart music played on many stations. It began in April or May 1981 from central Dublin before moving to an elevated site in Sandyford overlooking the city. A professional 1 kW transmitter on 738 kHz travelled well by day but was subject to interference at night. Radio Leinster presenters included Gavin Duffy who led the consortium to be awarded the local radio licence for counties Meath and Louth in 1989. Peter Mulryan’s book Radio Radio (1988) reports that in 1982 Duffy announced that he would interview senior Sinn Féin figures including Gerry Adams, in breach of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act. The station received a warning from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and Duffy was fired.
This recording is of interest because it is from the last day of Radio Leinster, the 19th of March 1983. Like many other stations, Radio Leinster was spooked by the raids on Radio Nova and Sunshine and closed down suddenly at lunchtime. This recording which begins at 10.20am gives no impression of a crisis, and presenter Mike Moran even announces a competition. The recording is from 93 FM. Radio Leinster was never to return but future stations in the same easy listening vein would be Magic 103, KISS FM (managed by David Baker) and KLAS.
This recording is from the Skywave Tapes Collection. Skywave Radio International broadcast a shortwave station in the 1980s from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin.
In this interview, journalist Ken Murray recalls his memories of pirate radio in Louth and Dublin in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1979, he began working with Local Radio Drogheda which evolved into Boyneside Radio.
While in Drogheda, Ken set up ‘The Green Scene’ which is now the longest running programme on Irish commercial radio, presented on LMFM by Eddie Caffrey. Ken then moved to the Dublin station Radio Leinster which closed down suddenly in 1983 during the period of raids against the larger stations Sunshine Radio and Radio Nova. He went on to work as a journalist for RTÉ, LMFM and Independent Radio News and is now editor of EC Radio Ireland. Ken is interviewed by Mary Ryan.
Eddie Caffrey was himself a leading figure in the Louth pirates of the 1970s and 1980s. Listen here to him in a panel about the Louth pirates and here to an individual interview about his involvement in shortwave pirates.
David Baker was a well-known voice on Irish pirate radio in the 1980s and worked in or managed a large number of stations including ARD, Radio City, Radio Leinster, the Community Broadcasting Co-operative, KISS FM, Heartbeat and KLAS.
In this interview, John Walsh caught up with David Baker and talked about his pirate days, with a particular focus on the easy listening station KLAS. John worked with David in KLAS from 1986-1988.
On July 29th 2017, East Wall History Group held the Sarah Lundberg Summer School, an event set up to commemorate the life of Sarah Lundberg, an activist, historian and scholar who was involved in the group. One of Sarah Lundberg’s interests was pirate radio and that was the focus of the 2017 Summer School.
In this edited interview Alan MacSimoin (RIP) talks to Maureen Maguire about her memories of political pirate radio in Ireland, including the unique Galway station Radio Pirate Woman, run by left-wing activist Margaretta D’Arcy from the 1980s.
Maureen Maguire was also involved with Radio Sinn Féin which broadcast on 298 metres (1008 kHz) in 1983. The station was one of several set up by the party as a protest against Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act which banned interviews with members of certain organisations including Sinn Féin.
There were several such stations during the 1980s including many supporting Republic prisoners on hunger strike who stood in the general election of June 1981 under the Anti H-Block banner. A short recording of Radio H-Block based in Dublin can be heard here (courtesy Skywave Collection) It also broadcast on 298 metres.