Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has welcomed a decision of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media to support her proposal to arrange hearings to investigate the matter of the selling of television rights for major Irish sporting events, and geo-blocking sporting events in the North.
Deputy Munster made the proposal at the first meeting of the new Dáil term of the Committee, which met in private session on Wednesday.
Teachta Munster said:
“The issue of GAA games being sold to Sky is raised every summer. This summer, the matter was of particular importance due to the restrictions on attending sporting events, and the restrictions in pubs and bars.
“It is my belief that we should ensure that as many GAA matches as possible are available on terrestrial channels.
“I want to bring the GAA and other sporting governing bodies into the Committee to discuss this issue, and to see if we can find a way to ensure that more important sporting events are broadcast on terrestrial channels.
“This summer also saw the farcical situation where northern viewers were blocked from watching local athletes, who were competing under the Team Ireland banner, compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We have heard the reasons for this geo-blocking, but I feel it is high time that we worked together on this in order to find a solution.
“The North is a special case, where northern athletes can compete for Team Ireland should they so choose, and it is only right that their families and communities can watch them in action the same way those in the South can.
“I wrote to the Director General of RTÉ and to the Minister for Sport during the summer – I have yet to receive a response from the Minister on this matter.
“I look forward to having the opportunity to look into these matters further in the coming weeks and months at the Committee.”