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    RTE postpones launch of Diaspora TV

    By Noreen Bowden | November 6, 2008

    RTE will not be launching its Diaspora TV service before St Patrick’s Day 2009 as had been promised. The broadcaster says it must push back the launch until later in the year, because it must cut costs.

    The station, sometimes called RTE International, will be aimed at the 850,000 Irish-born people in the UK. It will cost 2 million euro a year to operate. Legislation passed in 2007 allowed for licence fee money to be spent on both radio and television broadcasting for the Irish abroad. Earlier this year, RTE cut one of its services to the Irish abroad, its medium wave Radio One service. At that time, RTE officials cited their plans for Diaspora TV as partial justification of that decision.

    In today’s Irish Independent, Liz McManus says she is disappointed about the move and says she will be writing to Communications Minister Eamon Ryan about it. The article quotes her as saying:

    “The importance of such a service is beyond dispute. There is strong demand for Irish TV abroad, particularly in Britain. Our emigrants want to keep in touch with home and things that are happening here.”

    In addition, another report says that Communications Minister Eamon Ryan is determined that Diaspora TV will be in operation as soon as possible. In a letter to RTE, he said, “The Government is absolutely committed to delivering RTE International at the earliest possible date.”

    Minister Ryan said, “While we understand the financial constraints that all sectors of society are working in at the moment, I am determined that Diaspora TV will be up and running as soon as possible and I have communicated this to RTE.”

    See these related links:

    Irish Independent: “TV channel for Irish emigrants is put on hold”

    Digital Spy: “RTE int’l channel ‘must launch asap'”

    RTE 2 FTA: RTE postpones RTE International

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