All major GAA games involving the Galway hurlers and footballers must be kept on free-to-air TV, a Galway East TD has demanded, particularly with Galway’s major semi-final this weekend.
Fianna Fáil deputy Michael Kitt, made his call as the Government begins a review process to decide which sporting and cultural events should be shown on free-to-air TV over the next three years.
The problem over Sky broadcasting of hurling matches has come to a head following the need for Galway and Kilkenny to replay the Leinster Hurling semi-final.
The GAA was forced to defended its decision to schedule the replay at 7pm next Saturday. The decision means the game cannot be televised as Sky is already due to show the Ulster semi-final clash between Armagh and Monaghan. The broadcasting deal forbids two fixtures being shown at the same time.
Dep Kitt said many within the Galway GAA community fear the deal between the GAA and SKY will see the sporting organisation “move towards selling more of its broadcasting rights to pay-per-view networks”.
The Galway East TD is calling for all major GAA games involving the Galway footballers and hurlers to be listed as designated events, which would be protected and shown free-to-air. At the moment only the All-Ireland finals are protected under the current legislation.
“Many people cannot travel to inter-county games due to prohibitive costs, illness, or lack of adequate rural transport,” he said. “RTÉ is often the only medium by which they can watch the games, and this service needs to be protected.”
Dep Kitt is also encouraging the public to make submissions for lesser-known sporting and cultural events which may not be shown at all or on a limited basis. Submissions can be made by email to [email protected] before Friday August 1.