No. 262 NAI DFA 205/55

Extracts from a memorandum from Frank Gallagher to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

Dublin, 12 August 1940

Submitted to An Taoiseach Concerning the Establishment of a Regular High Speed Morse Wireless Receiving and Transmitting Station


Apart from steamships and Air Mails, the only means of communication between Ireland and the rest of the world are via Great Britain; there is a Cable to Newfoundland passing through Valentia, but this Cable is controlled by Great Britain. The result of this position is that Ireland is now completely cut off from the whole of Europe and can only communicate with America by the good will of Great Britain.

It can, I think, be stated definitely that Ireland is the only country in Europe which has no independent means of communication. All the other European countries have, in addition to their telegraphic and cable lines, regular wireless communication systems which leave them independent of their neighbours.

The lack of proper wireless receiving and transmitting facilities here is one of the factors which prevents the direct receipt and despatch of news to and from Ireland. The bulk of news from Ireland has to be sent to London from where, after being sub-edited, it is sent to the Rugby Wireless transmitter; from there it is sent by high speed Morse to various parts of the world. The bulk of the news reaching Ireland is likewise received by wireless in Rugby and sub-edited in London before it reaches Ireland.

It is now generally recognised that wireless high speed Morse is the most satisfactory method of transmitting news and this method is now in general use, both in Europe and America. All the big newsagencies which have offices in London transmit and receive the bulk of their news by this method from Rugby. The Rugby Transmitter itself is operated by the British Post Office.

If an Irish wireless transmitting and receiving station were established, it would be possible to get away from the present news distribution system. It would certainly facilitate at some future stage the establishment of an official Irish newagency.

Under present conditions, it is very likely that some of the big American and Continental newsagencies would operate from Ireland instead of England if proper facilities were made available.

I have dwelt on the advantages of an Irish wireless transmitting station from the news point of view because this is a question with which I am familiar. There are, however, other considerations which are, perhaps, even more important from a Governmental and business point of view. For instance, communication difficulties between External Affairs and Irish diplomatic Representatives abroad could be maintained even in time of stress, when they become more important. Financial and business dealings could, likewise, be carried on even when cable and telegraphic communications are interrupted. Such a transmitter could also be used for internal communications by Government Services and also for communications between Ireland and Great Britain in the event of the cables breaking down.

[matter omitted]



If this scheme is to be adopted, there are a number of reasons which favour its being put into operation with the least possible delay.

The first of these is the necessity for independent means of communication with the outside world in the present situation. Another reason is that the present war situation would favour the use of the proposed transmitter by newsagencies. If the war situation develops on British soil, it is quite possible that Ireland would find itself completely cut off from America and Europe.

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