Dáil Éireann - Volume 639 - 11 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Broadcasting Services.

Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if arrangements have been agreed with RTÉ for the provision of RTÉ broadcasting in Great Britain in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22460/07]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: Section 16 of the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960, as amended, requires RTÉ to provide a national television and radio service and permits RTÉ the discretion to provide “broadcasting services of a local, community or regional character”. Section 28 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 expands this remit to the provision of a television and radio service to the whole of the island of Ireland.

Section 3 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, enacted and commenced in April of this year, further amends RTÉ’s public service remit, requiring it to provide a television and radio service to Irish communities abroad, and stipulating that any such television service must be representative of the existing RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and TG4 channels.

Section 14 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 empowers RTÉ to utilise the public funding it receives in respect of television licence fee income in pursuance of this amended public service remit.

[909] RTÉ’s initial focus in fulfilling its new mandate is on ensuring the provision of a television service to Irish communities in Britain.

RTÉ is currently planning the establishment of an international channel for such a purpose and has an active group working on the project.

This group is currently exploring the various options available including the cost and availability of space on the broadcasting transmission platforms of third parties, and the cost and acquisition of certain rights associated with the broadcast of programmes outside of Ireland.

Upon completion of this process I expect that RTE will come forward with specific proposals to meet their mandate under section 3 of the 2007 Act.