Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has said the report from the State’s official language commissioner into Irish language programming broadcast by RTÉ is very concerning and has called for partial withholding of TV licence funding if the state broadcaster does not comply with its public service commitments.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “As our State broadcaster there is a legal onus to provide Irish language content and the report revealed today shows that RTÉ is seriously lacking in these targets.
“Under the Broadcasting Act 2009 RTÉ are in breach of its legal obligations regarding Irish language content on its television channels. I understand over 99% of programmes are in English which is a shocking ignorance of our national language.
“The Minister for Communications must meet with senior management in RTÉ so they can explain this failure. An Coisminéir Teanga has asked for an implementation plan setting out measures from RTÉ to show how they plan to tackle the deficiency.
“According to the latest figures available there are 1.7m who know Irish and according to surveys most of these are favourably disposed to the language. Broadcasting through Irish was also a major part of the 20 year Strategy for the Irish language. The Irish language is unique to our identity, our social and cultural being, and should be fostered across all communities.
“If RTÉ cannot meet their public service broadcasting commitments then we should consider withholding a portion of the licence fee funding which is provided to the organisation until a time when they can meet Irish language broadcasting obligations,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.