Tuesday 10 December 2019

Bank inquiry shown live but not on RTE

Labour's Ciaran Lynch will chair the banking inquiry
Labour's Ciaran Lynch will chair the banking inquiry
Conor Feehan

By Conor Feehan

THE banking inquiry is set to be beamed live into our living rooms this autumn, but not on Saorview because RTE won't agree terms for it.

A new Oireachtas TV channel will be launched in September to coincide with the new Dail term.

It will show live sessions chaired by Labour's Ciaran Lynch, during the day, as well as recorded coverage of Dail and Seanad debates, and Oireachtas committee meetings, in the evening.

And it will also be launched in time to show bankers, civil servants and politicians grilled in public in relation to the collapse of the banking system in 2008.

While Sky Ireland has agreed to host the new channel at a discounted fee of €250,000 it will not be available to Saorview customers as RTE is demanding a fee of €900,000 to host it.

The stance by the national broadcaster has been criticised by Oireachtas spokesman Mark Mulqueen, who said he hoped RTE would join UPC, Sky and Eircom in broadcasting the station to give the public direct access to events in Leinster House.

He said the aim of the channel was to show the day-to-day events in Leinster House "first hand and unfiltered".

Mr Mulqueen added that the station will build a better understanding between the political system and the wider public who can tune in live to it when they want to.

He said research had shown that half the population of Ireland has a low understanding of the work carried out in the Oireachtas and that television was the preferred choice of media to communicate the events in parliament and politics.

"In terms of increased output and greater efficiencies, the development of dedicated Oireachtas TV will deliver a scenario where all of the 2,500 hours of the proceedings of the Houses of the Oireachtas will be accessible to the public to view," Mr Mulqueen said in a report in a Sunday newspaper.

The new Oireachtas channel will have higher production values than the current Oireachtas TV, currently shown on UPC through RTE after midnight.

When asked about the charge being applied to the new channel an RTE spokesperson said: "Saorview is a wholly owned subsidiary of RTE and as a public service media organisation we are not in a position to offer subsidised or discretionary tariffs."


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