Written Answers. - Television Reception.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

120 Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will give details of the development which has been made in recent months with regard to ensuring RTÉ reception throughout Northern Ireland. [16929/96]

The issue of greater availability of RTÉ services throughout Northern Ireland is a source of on-going discussions between both Governments. Reciprocal access to each other's broadcasting services can make an obvious contribution to better understanding between North and South and also indeed, between the two main traditions in Northern Ireland. Our objective of greater access to RTÉ television in Northern Ireland is shared by the British Government. A bilateral broadcasting group comprising official and technical experts was set up by the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in 1994, to examine the issue of RTÉ reception in Northern Ireland. A joint technical report on ways of overcoming any problems of interference which could arise from increasing the power northwards from Clermont Carn was recently agreed between the radio frequency management authorities in the Department of Transport. Energy and Communications and their counterpart in the Radiocommunications Agency in London. I understand that political agreement to a phased implementation of the proposed changes to the transmitter at Clermont Carn is now awaited. This issue has been a regular items on the agenda of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference since July 1993, and most recently on 22 May this year. I and my colleagues in the Government will continue to pursue this matter through the appropriate channels.