Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Questions (476)

Liz McManus

Question:

557 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if, in view of RTE’s decision to postpone the diaspora channel, he will ensure that the Irish abroad will have access to Irish television services; the way he will ensure that the commitment to providing a diaspora channel will be realised; the timeframe he envisages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39706/08]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

Section 3(1)(b) of The Broadcasting Act 2007 requires RTÉ to establish and maintain a television broadcasting service and a sound broadcasting service, which services shall be made available, in so far as the RTÉ Authority considers reasonably practicable, to Irish communities outside the island of Ireland.

In this regard, RTÉ has reviewed the potential for providing these services over different media, including via the Internet and on the UK Freesat service.

RTÉ is proposing to pursue and expand access to its programming via the Internet, and has highlighted that this will be available to the Irish abroad. However, in relation to Freesat, RTÉ has informed the Department that their plans to launch a Freesat service in the UK in early 2009 have been postponed. RTÉ has indicated that this decision was made as a result of the economic downturn, which has adversely seriously affected RTÉ's commercial service, and is part of a necessary cost saving exercise planned by RTÉ next year.

My Department has nonetheless, written to RTÉ expressing disappointment at its decision to postpone the launch of the service and to request information on a likely launch date for the service.