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The Pirate Closedowns of 1988



Today’s Irish Independent had plenty of reading with a full page feature on page 6, and an article by Colum Kenny on page 8. As usual, tap either image to read.

Page 6

Page 8


Meanwhile the Donegal Democrat focused on their local stations…

Click on the image to read

Donegal Democrat


As most of the stations were winding down, Radio Dublin boss Eamon Cooke was in court winding up the authorities, and it made the front pages of many newspapers on this day.

Cooke was seeking an injunction to prevent the new Broadcasting Act from becoming law, claiming that the Act was against freedom of expression and was also an infringement on his right to work.

Plus, in allowing the equally illegal TV deflector systems a reprieve it begged the question why they deserved special treatment.

The case offered a glimmer of hope to those within the radio world that there might be a last minute reprieve and they would be able to continue broadcasting, for now anyway.

Some eagerly awaited the outcome of the case, unsure whether they needed to close after all.

With so much going on within the radio world, it’s perhaps no surprise that mixed messages were coming from the courtroom as the day progressed.


Broadcast from Castle Hill, Co Carlow || Scheduled close 3pm

CLR (Carlow Local Radio) opted to close earlier than most. They had held a closedown party in the town last night. We just have a short snippet of their closedown…

Unfortunately we do not have a longer copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help out with a longer recording we’d be very grateful.


Broadcast from Greencastle, Co Donegal || Scheduled close 4pm

In the north west, Donegal was about to lose WABC. The station’s scheduled close time was 4pm. They had initially indicated that they’d be staying on beyond the deadline but obviously decided against it.

WABC Radio was one of the younger stations, only on air since September 1987. But they made huge inroads in the north west thanks to the expertise of station owner Paul Bentley. They had no intention of applying for one of the original licences. The 20% requirement was too much for a station which boasted playing “the most music”.

The recording, with loads of on-air craic, starts at 2.30pm

WABC left a loop tape on air following the closedown.


Broadcast from Thomas St, Limerick || Scheduled close 4pm

In Limerick, country & Irish music station Galtee Regional Radio shut down at 4pm. Galtee were a sister station of Cavan’s Breffni Radio.
We have just a short snippet of their farewell…

Unfortunately we do not have a longer copy of this station’s closedown. If you can help complete this history please get in touch.


Meanwhile, the evening newspapers were hitting the stands… on the right is the front page of Cork’s Evening Echo – and on the left is the Evening Herald’s page 3 (tap them to read the full articles)

Evening Herald

On the next page we head to Dublin to listen to the last throes of two of the biggest stations in the country…