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Written Answers - Broadcasting Services

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 366.  Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  when he will carry out a public consultation on suggested new TG4 stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16698/12]

 367.  Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  when he expects the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to carry out a sectoral impact analysis on suggested new TG4 channels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16699/12]

[853]Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 366 and 367 together.

In 2011, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) undertook a process which involved seeking expressions of interest from any broadcasters or content providers interested in providing additional broadcast services on the RTÉ Saorview platform. This process was undertaken in accordance with the additional functions conferred on the BAI by way of Statutory Instrument No. 67 of 2011. The BAI submitted its initial report on the expressions of interest process in May 2011 and the report indicated some broadcaster interest in using SAORVIEW, including a proposal from TG4. Since then, my Department has actively engaged with the BAI on the detail of this report and has sought a number of clarifications concerning the implementation of the Report’s recommendations. I can confirm that the necessary clarifications were provided last week to my Department and my officials are now preparing a recommendation to me in regard to the specific additional channels to be carried on SAORVIEW. I expect to have this recommendation very shortly. Once I have made my decision on the recommendation, contact will be made with the successful applicants in regard to their proposed new services.

Should TG4 be amongst these successful applicants, section 103 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 requires that, as a public service broadcasting corporation, a Public Value Test shall be carried out on any new services proposed by them. As part of this process, I am required, as Minister, to consult with the BAI as to the sectoral impact of any such proposals. This Sectoral Impact Assessment is undertaken by the BAI in accordance with the provisions of section 100 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

 368.  Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  if the Sound and Vision Fund is being promoted as part of his Department’s Digital Switch Over Campaign along with other digital platforms; if not, the reason, as it is available to free to air satellite channels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16700/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte There is no connection between the Sound and Vision Fund and the Digital Switch Over Campaign. The objective of the Digital Switch Over Campaign is to ensure that no one loses access to the Irish TV stations after the analogue network is switched off on the 24th October 2012. In particular the Campaign aims to inform the public that—

1. The national analogue TV service is switching to a national digital TV service,

2. Analogue switch off will take place on 24th October 2012,

3. Those reliant on the analogue network have to take action to avoid their screens going blank,

4. The options in going for digital, those reliant on the analogue of, and

5. Pay TV service providers or similar multichannel TV services will not be affected.

The Sound and Vision Fund, delivered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, offers funding to independent television producers for various genres of programming, for example documentaries, children’s programming and film production.


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