The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 – December 31st Radio Dublin

The 1988 Pirate Radio Closedowns in Ireland

As the bells were ringing out and heralding the start of a new year, the last of the pirate radio stations had said their goodbyes – with three notable exceptions
How about RTÉ?
The local station for Dublin, Millenium Radio, had been given an extension but had earlier stopped broadcasting for the day.
Who was on (RTÉ) 2FM?

There was huge interest in what one particular station would do once midnight had passed…

The Irish pirate closedowns of 1988

Radio Dublin

A lot of noise had come out of the Radio Dublin camp over the previous few days, with Éamon Cooke insisting that the station would stay on but would run pre-recorded materials only.
With no live programmes for the foreseeable, at least, Radio Dublin did run a closedown and this was the final message from station manager Gerry Marsden…

At midnight, as promised, Radio Dublin remained on air but reverted to taped programming.

Recording by kind courtesy of Eddie Bohan

Radio Star

Another station which did not close was based in Monaghan. Country and Irish music station Radio Star continued broadcasting as normal, without making a big deal about the new Act…

Hospital Radio

One long-running pirate was based in St Ita’s Hospital in Portrane in north Dublin. Broadcasting since 1983, they were another station who stayed on the air when the deadline came around. Apparently, though, they had received permission to do so. The station was one of very few of its kind and, being non-commercial, it appears that the wellbeing of the patients was considered in allowing the station to continue.
Whilst researching this story in 2020, one member of staff got very defensive, then abusive, when it was pointed out that his assertion that they have always been a licensed station was impossible as there was no framework in place for licensing until 1989. Seeing as the questions were coming from a website that champions the pirate stations it was a strange reaction and indicates the level of sensitivity some within the station feel about the circumstances under which they were allowed to continue broadcasting, despite not being licensed to do so.
Thankfully, current station manager Tom Noctor put the record straight on social media: “It is my understanding that there was a hand-written note from the Minister of Communications at the time giving permission to continue broadcasting on 97.4FM. Said Minister was born on the grounds of the hospital where his father worked as a nurse so perhaps he had an understanding of the special nature of the service and its listeners.”


And so to dot the is and cross the ts.
There may be some stations missing from this closedowns special. If you know of any, however big or small, we’d be very grateful if you could let us know.
As usual, if anybody has any recordings of these stations below please get in touch.

The following stations closed at some point up to, or on, the deadline…

Connemara Community Radio
Broadcast from Galway and closed on December 31st. Connemara Community Radio had only been on air for six weeks when the Act came into being.

Glencoagh Radio
Broadcast from Donegal

Kerry Local Radio
Broadcast from Tralee, Co Kerry. Station owner Mike Donovan attacked the decision to close the stations in advance of licences being issued. He said that in his station alone the decision had thrown 11 people out of work.

Kingdom 102
Broadcast from Co Kerry.

Premier Radio International
Broadcast on the SW band from Ireland. Premier Radio first broadcast in May 1976.

Radio Mi Amigo
Broadcast on the SW band from Ireland.

Riverside Radio International
Broadcast on the SW band from Ireland.

Viking 105
Broadcast from Co Wicklow and had a very low key closedown.

Next, …

The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 -

December 31st Midnight Strikes

A new era begins

The Pirate Closedowns of 1988 -

In memoriam:

ABC Radio;
Big M;
Boyneside Radio;
Boyneside Radio Navan;
Boyneside Radio North;
Bray Local Broadcasting;
Breffni Regional Radio;
Capitol Radio;
Carlow Community Radio;
Carlow Local Radio;
Cavan Community Radio;
CBC Radio;
Centre Radio (Cork);
Centre Radio (Dublin);
Class Radio;
Coast 103;
Community Radio Fingal;
County Sound;
Donegal Community Radio;
Erneside Radio;
Galtee Radio;
Heartbeat FM;
Hometown Radio;
Hope FM;
Independent Radio Limerick;
Independent Radio Longford;
Independent Radio Mayo;
Kilkenny Community Radio;
KFM County Galway Radio;
Kiss FM (Monaghan);
Kiss FM (Tullamore);

Kiss 106;


KTOK Radio;
Laois Community Radio;
Liberty 104;
Midway Radio;
NCR Radio;
North Cork Community Radio;
North Dublin Community Radio;
North West Community Radio;
Power 98;
Premier County Radio;
Pulsar 98;
RadioFax (relay);
Radio Munster;
Radio North;
Radio Nova;
Radio Nova (relay);
Radio Snowflake;
Radio Vera;
Rainbow Radio;
Raidió Luimní;
Roscommon Radio;
Roscommon Community Radio;
Signal 106;
South Coast Radio;
South West Radio;
Tallaght Community Radio;
Telstar Community Radio;
Tipperary Community Radio;
Treble TR;
Twin County Radio;
Waterford Local Radio;
West Coast Radio
West National Radio 3;
Westside Radio International;
Zee 103;
Zike FM;