Belfast Telegraph

Irish language station to reach 90% of houses

21 October 2004

Irish language TV station TG4 will be capable of being beamed into nine out of ten Ulster households next Spring, North Antrim Sinn Fein Assemblyman Philip McGuigan has said.

Welcoming the move he said the development was confirmed in writing by minister Angela Smith.

Mr McGuigan said: "While I welcome the announcement that coverage of TG4 is to be extended to 90% 'in the very near future' its implementation is long overdue."

The plan to broadcast TG4 from transmitters inside Northern Ireland goes back to the Belfast Agreement, which called on the British Government to work to explore the scope for achieving more widespread availability of Teilifis na Gaeilige in Northern Ireland.

Mr McGuigan said: "In the six years since the Agreement was signed coverage of TG4 has only risen from 30% to 54% of the households in the six counties. 90% of households should be receiving TG4 in the Spring of next year."

But he added: "If BBC can be accessed by 100% of people in the six counties, then so should TG4.

"It is also imperative that the poor quality RTÉ that some citizens receive in the North, particularly in parts of north Antrim, is rectified.

"There is a particular onus on the Irish government to ensure Irish citizens in all 32 counties of this island receive their national TV station."

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