RTE longwave service saved until 2017

rte

The controversial closure of RTE’s longwave 252 radio service has been postponed until at least 2017, a Fine Gael TD has confirmed.

John O’Mahony, the Fine Gael TD for Mayo and Chair of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee has expressed his delight at RTE’s announcement that they are to retain the service until at least 2017.

This service benefits thousands of Irish people living abroad and is a crucial part of RTÉ’s public service remit,” he said.

The service was initially due to be suspended in October, but pressure put on the Irish government and RTE by groups in the UK meant the closure was postponed until January 19 to allow relevant parties engage with affected listeners.

Many Irish residents in Britain rely on the longwave service to keep up to date with news from home, and there were questions as to whether the most vulnerable listeners could use digital radio to access the radio’s broadcasts.

However, the broadcaster will reduce the hours it is available in 2016 moving towards a full shut down the following year.

“RTÉ recently appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, of which I am Chair, and we discussed the proposed ending of the longwave service. I am delighted that RTÉ has now taken our concerns on board and deferred the move,” Mr O’Mahony continued.
“Through the transition period, RTÉ Radio 1 will operate a full service in 2015, with reduced hours in 2016, working toward a full shutdown in 2017, giving more time for the transition away from longwave to alternative methods of listening.
“This Government is very focused on the diaspora and improving our connections with the Irish abroad. As such I felt the proposal to close of the longwave service would do a grave disservice to the diaspora and needed a rethink. I am very glad that sense has now prevailed.
“RTÉ produces high quality news and drama and, through its longwave service, provides a real connection to Ireland for Irish people living abroad. In particular, the thousands of Irish people living in the UK really value having this connection to home and I am glad that they will have it for a while longer while the alternatives are properly worked out.”

 

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