The Irish Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has announced that Diaspora TV will be on air in the UK by next St Patrick’s Day. Diaspora TV will be an RTÉ channel available on the new Freesat service in the UK. Freesat is a new free-to-air satellite service that will be available throughout the UK and across the Astra satellite footprint, covering Ireland and some other parts of Europe. It is led by the BBC and ITV. Further information is available at www.freesat.co.uk
This channel will be a hybrid of RTÉ One and RTÉ 2 with some additional programming from TG4. The One, Six-One and 9 o’clock news bulletins will be carried live. It will carry a range of home-grown Irish programming that will be of real interest to Irish communities abroad.
Minister Ryan said: “The 2001 Census in Britain records a figure of 850,000 Irish born people living in Britain. There are many more of direct Irish descent. I know that many of these people have been looking for an RTÉ channel in the UK for some time. I am pleased that foot of last year’s Broadcasting Act, this new channel will be up and running by next St. Patrick’s Day.
“I will be working closely with Minister Dermot Ahern to ensure that vulnerable groups in the UK will be supported in receiving the service. This new channel will provide the Irish abroad with a valuable link to home.”
(Source: Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources via Media Network)
I wonder if this development will mean the radio channels from RTE will come off medium and longwave after all. Must be very expensive (listeners per kW) to keep those services going for Irish expats.