Dáil Éireann - Volume 652 - 23 April, 2008
Written Answers. - Broadcasting Services.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Deputy Thomas P. Broughan
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and  Natural Resources his views on providing a channel dedicated to the democratic discussions in Dáil Éireann and making it available on terrestrial television; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14655/08]
Deputy Eamon Ryan Deputy Eamon Ryan
Deputy Eamon Ryan: Section 28(2)(b) of the Broadcasting Act, 2001, mandates RTÉ to provide programmes of news and current affairs in the Irish and English languages, including programmes that provide coverage of proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Parliament. In addition section 45(4) of the Broadcasting Act 2001 mandates TG4 to provide programmes, primarily in the Irish language, of news and current affairs and to provide coverage of proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Parliament. Both RTÉ and TG4 devote resources and efforts, within the constraints of their programming schedules, to coverage and commentary of the proceedings of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Whilst I would compliment Irish broadcasters on the extent and quality of their coverage, I still favour the establishment of a new Oireachtas channel, which would provide for extended free-to-air television coverage of the proceedings of the Houses of the Oireachtas and of other democratic fora. The programme for Government contains a commitment in this regard. I firmly believe that the roll out of Digital Terrestrial Television in Ireland provides an ample opportunity for the development and establishment of such a channel. In that regard, and on foot of discussions with the Joint Administration Committee and officials of the Commission of the Houses of the Oireachtas, I propose to bring forward legislative proposals in the forthcoming Broadcasting Bill to facilitate the development of such a channel.
Dáil Éireann 652 Written Answers. Broadcasting Services.