Written Answers. - RTE Broadcasting.

James McDaid

Question:

37 Dr. McDaid asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress, if any, that has been made by the bilateral group of officials under the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference to examine the issue of RTE television broadcasting in Northern Ireland. [8260/96]

The issue of access to RTE television in Northern Ireland is one on which the Government places particular importance. Greater availability of RTE television throughout Northern Ireland would make a significant contribution towards the creation of better North-South awareness and understanding and in this way assist in the process of reconciliation between the two parts of this island. It would also contribute to greater understanding between the two main traditions in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Government's objective of greater access to RTE television in Northern Ireland is shared by the British Government.

The Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference established a bilateral broadcasting group comprising officials and technical experts to examine the issue of RTE television reception in Northern Ireland. That group identified that the most significant improvement in the short term could be achieved by increasing the power northwards from the RTE transmitter at Clermont Carn in County Louth. However, the British side maintained that the increase in power could have adverse effects on the reception of its local service in Northern Ireland.
Representatives of the two relevant regulatory agencies, the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications in Dublin and the Radiocommunications Agency in London, have had a series of meetings to discuss ways of overcoming any problem of interference which could arise from an increased power output from Clermont Carn.
It is hoped that the broadcasting group will be in a position to submit a report on the outcome of these technical discussions to the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in the near future.