The creative and audiovisual sector in the west of Ireland got a significant boost last evening when TG4 were given the green light to develop a dedicated children’s TV channel entitled Cúla4.
The announcement was made by Arts Minister Catherine Martin who said it will reflect the diverse backgrounds of children living in all parts of Ireland, but particularly in Gaeltacht and Irish speaking communities.
The channel will seek to build on the TV station’s Cúla4 programming and will cost €3.2m, but will include a children’s news service, entertainment and education content, drama and Irish animation. The new station will also lead to new commissions for independent content creators and staff employed in the audio visual industry.
TG4 announced last year that it intended to establish a dedicated children’s channel and work began on Cúla4 earlier this year.
TG4 Director General, Alan Esslemont welcomed the announcement and told the Advertiser of the role it will play in the development of children’s understanding of society.
“As we gradually emerge from the pandemic and face other global crises, we must look towards the future and the kind of society we want to establish for future generations. We also need to think about how children will develop the abilities and creativity they need.
“Media is vital to the development of children’s understanding, attitudes and participation in society. We need to serve children and young people in safe spaces with trusted content. Public service broadcasters have a special role in this respect but Irish language media face an additional challenge as they compete for audiences in a global and predominantly English language media market.
“TG4 - and the Irish language media and other Irish language arts organisations - play an important role in promoting the identity and enrichment of Irish communities and in supporting the transmission of the Irish language from generation to generation. If the Irish language media are not supported and if they are not visible, prominent and attractive, there is a risk that they will lose relevance, especially for young Irish audiences who are growing up in a global media environment.
“Now more than ever, TG4 must increase the relevance of Irish language content and serve and encourage the young audience who will determine the future of Irish as a community language. We must enrich TG4’s services for children, strengthen children’s relationship with TG4 and, with that, sustain their relationship with the Irish language.”
TG4 announced in 2021 that it intended to establish a dedicated children’s channel. Development work began in 2022 with the appointment of Karina Feirtéar as Cúla4 Channel Manager. Niamh Ní Chróinín is the new presenter of Cúla4 and will act as a youth ambassador for TG4 representing Cúla4 at public events and functions, on-screen as Cúla4’s presenter and as Cúla4’s cross-platform voice. Cúla4 will continue to increase the provision of programming for children from the independent production sector with new content in the schedule, and on non-linear platforms aimed at children.