Ladies GAA added to 'free to air' TV listings
The All-Ireland Ladies Football and Camogie finals are to be added to the list of 'events of major importance' that must be shown on free-to-air television.
The two sports are the only new additions to the list which will be submitted by Communications Minister Denis Naughten to the EU in the coming weeks, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
This classifies them above Ireland's Six Nations rugby games which must also be made available for RTE, TV3, TG4 or UTV Ireland to broadcast - but not necessarily live.
The IRFU had resisted proposals for the rugby tournament to be added to the list on the basis that it could cost them income from TV rights. Games must be available on terrestrial TV on a deferred basis. Dublin play Cork in today's Ladies football final in Croke Park, which will be broadcast live on TG4.
Mr Naughten said he was "proud" to add the games to the list which currently includes the male GAA finals, Olympics, Ireland's qualifying games for the European and World Cup soccer championships, the Rugby World Cup, the Irish Grand National, Irish Derby and the Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show.
"While the designation guarantees that these events can continue to be made available on 'free to air' television, it also confirms that they are of special resonance and have a distinct cultural importance for the people of Ireland," Mr Naughten said.
"I am adamant that the Ladies Senior Finals deserve this special recognition, which is already afforded to the Men's Senior Finals."
The proposal is to be submitted shortly to the European Commission for approval.
GAA chiefs are confident of smashing the attendance record for a Ladies All-Ireland football final when Cork and Dublin meet at Croke Park today. The record dates back to 2001, when 33,000 fans watched Laois take on Mayo in the final.
Twelve months ago 31,083 supporters saw Cork beat Dublin, the biggest crowd for any women's sporting event in Europe in 2015.
This final has a special flavour because Cork will bid to make history today by winning the county's first ever six in-a-row.
The feat has only ever been achieved in ladies football once, when Kerry was first to land the record back in the 1980s.