Support Irish Radio History Archiving

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Micahel Dillon was born in Dublin in 1922. His father Thomas was a Professor of Chemistry at University College Galway and his mother was Geraldine Plunkett, sister of the Easter Rising's Joseph Plunkett who as Director of Communications in 1916 was instrumental in putting the rebels own radio station on the air. Michael was a fountain of knowledge about farming and began writing about it in newspapers and trade magazines. In 1948 he joined Radio Eireann providing educational talks for a nation dominated by agriculture. Michael became a major force in the Irish Farmers Association. He presented 'Farmers Forum' on Radio Eireann for many years but at time not everyone was happy with the broadcasts. Martin Corry TD during a Dail debate on Wireless Broadcasting in 1958 said
'We farmers do find a certain amount of amusement in broadcasting especially when we listen to the weather forecast for farmers and fishermen every night. It can only be excelled by the joker in the Hospitals Sweepstakes programme when he gives out the three dead certs for to-morrow. There is about the same amount of accuracy in each. I deplore the situation where you have definite statements made in connection with economies, particularly in public services, and then you have Ministers coming in here with increased Estimates. They tell the people down the country, especially the local authorities, of the need for economy. It is about time this economy started on top. There are a few things we can very well do without even in the broadcasting system. As regards the statements that were made by Deputy Sweetman and by Deputy O'Sullivan respectively, I consider Deputy Blaney's attitude to have been absolutely correct. It is about time that some Minister of State told some of these gentlemen exactly where they got off. I believe the Government were right in promoting him for it. The attitude I deplore in regard to all the Estimates we have met so far is that there is a tendency to cut down the income of those who are producing and to increase the income of those who are not producing. On the question of the general programmes from Radio √Čireann, I have read a few times that if music is played out in the stall it will induce the cows to give more milk. I think it would relieve our Minister for Agriculture of a large portion of his headache as regards the butter subsidy at present if some of the Radio √Čireann programmes were taken out to the stall and played to the cows. It would be sufficient to stop them from giving milk and thus relieve the Exchequer to a certain extent of the necessity to subsidise butter'.
When Irish television was launched in 1962, Michael moved from the microphone of Radio Eireann in the GPO to in front of the cameras.
He will be forever associated with 'Mart and Market', a five minute round up of livestock prices from Marts around the country. His bald head affectionately gave him the nickname 'cowjack' after the bald headed detective 'Kojak' played by Telly Savalas. Michael was a founder of the Irish Farmers Association in 1966 and began writing for the Irish Farmers Journal. He won The Agricultural Journalism Award in 1978 and 1986. He also presented 'Farm Diary' on screen and was an integral part of Irish life in one channel land for over two decades.
The mix of farming programmes remained the same until 1975 when the daily programme, Farm Diary – or the‘twentypastsix’ as it soon became known - was launched.Broadcast at 6.20pm Monday to Friday, the brief was to deliver a fast-paced roundup of the day’s big stories, capped by Michael Dillon’s livestock prices. The first Farm Diary was broadcast on 3 April 1975.(Michael Miley)
Michael presented his last show in August 1988 with many tributes paid to Michael including one from the then Taosieach of the day Charles Haughey. He was described upon his death in June 1992 as 'an extraordinary balanced individual'.

No comments:

Post a comment