Ireland’s communications minister Eamon Ryan has confirmed the launch of the so-called Diaspora TV by St Patrick’s Day next year. As the Irish around the world celebrate their patron saint, the minister promised the new channel from public broadcaster RTE would have carriage on free-to-air satellite platform Freesat.
Programming on the publicly-funded channel will be drawn from RTÉ One and RTÉ 2 with additional programming from the Gaelic language TG4. The One, Six-One and 9 o’clock news bulletins will be carried live.
“The 2001 Census in Britain records a figure of 850,000 Irish born people living in Britain. There is 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,” said the minister in a statement.
In fact they will only have been looking since the closure of Tara TV in 2001 following a dispute between RTE and its operators UPC. The commercial venture had been on air since 1997, but had struggled to gain carriage in the then predominantly analogue market.