Written Answers. - Public Service Broadcasting.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

36 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands if she has satisfied herself that Article 128 of the Maastricht Treaty, now Article 157 of the Amsterdam Treaty, was honoured in the drafting of the Government's reply to the Green Paper on convergence. [14834/98]

I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions Nos. 3 and 4 of 18 June 1998.

I do not necessarily agree that a response to a consultative document such as the Green Paper is an "action" as envisaged under the Article referred to by the Deputy. However, as I indicated in my earlier reply, my primary concern was to ensure that, in the response by Ireland to the consultative document, the concept of public service broadcasting with its associated elements of universal access and the provision of services which cater to a wide audience is taken into account in any deliberations on this matter. I am satisfied that the Irish response reflects these concerns and that, given that the role of public service broadcasting systems in the member states, as acknowledged in the Protocol to the Amsterdam Treaty reflect their national and regional diversity and,inter alia, the cultural needs of each society in the European Union, the Article has been respected.