The poor provision of the free digital television service, Saorview, in certain rural areas needs to be addressed, that is according to Fianna Fáil deputy Éamon Ó Cuív.
Deputy Ó Cuív has this week called on the Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte to ensure that this service is provided, adding that failure to do so only adds to the concerns over the Government’s disregard for rural communities.
“Saorview became the primary source of broadcast television here last October when the analogue service was switched off. But there is still two per cent of the country mostly in hill areas along the west coast that can’t receive Saorview.
“These areas are dependent on Saorstat, which provides an alternative service but does not carry TV3 or 3e. It means that the people living in these areas not have access to TV3 or 3e and the programmes they carry, including Tonight with Vincent Browne and many sporting events that are exclusively broadcast on these channels.
“I have had detailed correspondence with RTE, TV3, the Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte and Comreg about this problem. The reality is that RTE and TV3 failed to reach agreement in relation to the provision of this service and as a result the ordinary people in these areas lose out.
“Minister Rabbitte has attempted to his wash his hands of the issue by claiming it is purely a commercial decision for each of the broadcasters in question. But this is not good enough when there are still several areas in the west of Ireland without the same level of service as every other community in the country.”
Deputy Ó Cuív concluded, “Everyone, regardless of where they live, should have access to all Irish terrestrial television stations.”