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Live games should be available to everyone

COLIN Morgan, CEO of Setanta Ireland, has responded to last week's column regarding no live GAA coverage on free-to-air, English-speaking TV channels for eight months every year by pointing out that without his station's involvement, viewers would not see as many National League games.

"While we are a subscription channel on satellite, Setanta Ireland is available to over 500,000 homes on UPC for no extra charge.

"Therefore, a large proportion of the population are able to see these (National League) games at no extra cost. As an Irish-owned company, we consider it appropriate that we invest intensively in our national games. This investment will allow GAA fans to see 13 top-class games that they would not otherwise see," he wrote.

No argument there, just as I acknowledge that TG4 provide excellent coverage of club, National League, U-21 championship and various other fixtures. My reservations have nothing to do with the individual channels but with the reality that live GAA coverage is not available to everybody on terrestrial, English-speaking stations from the end of September to mid-May.

That's a GAA issue. It's also a mistake at a time when other sports are blitzing the screens, virtually on a 52-week basis. Because despite Setanta reaching 500,000 customers as part of the UPC deal, it's unavailable (except for a fee) to many others, while the majority of people can't understand TG4's Irish commentaries, certainly not in their totality.

This debate is about what's right for everyone and not merely for some.

Irish Independent