Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Michael Kitt, has called on Minister Pat Rabbitte to ensure all major GAA games involving the Galway hurlers and footballers are kept on free-to-air TV into the future.
Deputy Kitt was speaking 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 3 years.
“The recent announcement of a deal between the GAA and SKY for 14 pay-per-view games came as a shock to many within the GAA community throughout Galway. It has led to genuine fears that the GAA may move towards selling more of its broadcasting rights to pay-per-view networks.
“People in Galway should be afforded the right to watch the national game free of charge on the national broadcaster and people should use this opportunity to let Minister Rabbitte know that they want our national games and their amateur ethos protected.
“Fianna Fáil 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. RTÉ is often the only medium by which they can watch the games, and this service needs to be protected.
“I would also encourage people to make submissions for lesser-known sporting and cultural events which may not be shown at all or on a limited basis. I was disappointed that RTE, for instance, didn’t broadcast the very successful Special Olympics Ireland games, which took place last weekend in Limerick. Over 1,500 athletes took part in the games, but RTÉ failed to show any live coverage of the event.
“The submission process is a chance for sporting bodies and cultural groups throughout Galway to influence Government policy and I sincerely hope Minister Rabbitte gives every submission its due consideration.
“Submissions can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date is Friday August 1.”