That’s Pirate Radio Part 3 – Fighting the Law

June 8, 2007 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

When Doctor Don joined A.R.D. after his bust-up with Captain Cooke, both pirate crews started to fight a literal battle, sabotaging each other’s equipment. This climaxed in a head-on crash in the Phoenix Park between Cooke’s famous white 1958 Jaguar and Doctor Don’s more modest car. >>>

The A.R.D. Takeover

Meanwhile Don had mysteriously manoeuvred himself into jointly owning A.R.D. He agreed a 50-50 partnership with businessman Bernard Llewellyn, undeterred by the fact that the station also had three other owners (Davitt Kelly, Declan Meehan and Mark Storey) who were effectively ousted.

Police Raids

As listeners we were unaware of this Machiavellian backdrop to our music, but we were aware of a sustained phase of police raids on the stations. Stopping music was naturally a higher priority for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs than tackling the two-year waiting lists to get a telephone installed.

However, the raids were mainly of nuisance value, disrupting the pirates without silencing them. Under a law passed in 1926, just before Bing Crosby had started his new-fangled crooning, the most you could be fined for possessing a radio transmitter in the Irish Free State was £50.

Legal Loophole

Captain Cooke then found a very helpful loophole in this antique law. If the police seized your transmitter, you could argue in court that, technically, if you looked at it in a certain way, and half-closed your eyes, it might actually be an amplifier rather than a transmitter, in legal terms.

Cooke’s bizarre argument won the day, and the police legally had to return any seized transmitters. As a bonus, the raids brought free publicity, which in turn attracted new listeners, whose attention was distracted from the two-year waiting lists for telephones. Everyone was happy!

Next Post in Series: The Big Three
Previous Post in Series: Doctor Don Moore
First Post in Series: Radio Dublin 253


Entry filed under: Culture.

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.


Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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