Research funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI ) and carried out by NUI Galway into the use of the Irish language on licensed radio services has made several recommendations.
Stations covered in the research were a mix of commercial, public service, regional and community radio stations including: Athlone Community Radio; Flirt FM; Galway Bay FM; Highland Radio; iRadio; NEAR FM; Newstalk; Ocean FM; Radio Kerry and RTÉ radio services other than Raidió na Gaeltachta. Representatives from all of the stations were interviewed for the report and case studies were carried out on three stations, Newstalk, Radio Kerry and NEAR FM.
It was found that the Irish output on most stations was low and is aired mostly at off peak hours.
Some stations, though, have managed to build successful Irish language programmes over a long period and are positive about further development of material.
Independent stations require greater support for Irish lanuage broadcasting was one of the key conclusions, while it was also noted that external partnerships and closer collaborations with organisations and schools could be useful to increase content.
The report states that the Irish language organisation, Oireachtas na Gaeilge, should receive more long-term support for its work in developing radio output in Irish.
Other suggestions include the BAI should articulate more clearly the work of its Irish language team and develop training and work placement opportunities.
Broadcasters are also urged to seek sponsorship for Irish language content, post Covid 19.
Dr John Walsh, senior lecturer in Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway and author of the report, said: “This report shows that while there is some high quality Irish language programming on radio stations broadcasting in English, output in Irish remains very low on most of the country’s radio stations, including those broadcasting to Gaeltacht areas.
“The sector as a whole requires additional support and guidance with developing Irish language material and there is an opportunity for greater collaboration with Irish language organisations.
“New legislation about online safety and media regulation currently being discussed provides an opportunity to deal with these issues and ensure a central place for Irish in the future media landscape.”