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'Proud to be British' and launching this weekend, GB News will be available in Ireland

The new 24-hour news channel has been described as the UK answer to US news networks.

Source: GBNews/YouTube

SKY CUSTOMERS IN Ireland will be able to view the new GB News channel when it launches this weekend but Virgin Media Ireland has “no immediate plans” to broadcast the channel. 

The new 24-hour news channel is promising to “have different views” with its chairman Andrew Neil saying that the station will be “proud to be British”. 

The channel will officially launch on Sunday at 8pm, with Sky Ireland telling The Journal that it goes live for Irish customers on channel 515.

In the UK, channel bosses say it will reach an estimated 96% of British television households via a range of providers including  Sky and Virgin Media.

What can we expect from the new channel? 

When the channel was being put together, it was reported that the slant of GB News was going to be unashamedly pro-British, pro-Brexit and right-leaning.  

This led to it being compared to a British version of Fox News.

The money men behind the channel have been eager to downplay the comparison but it is clear that GB News will at least seek to lean into that kind of audience. 

The channel’s logo prominently features the British flag and on its launch website the channel says it will “give the people of the UK the space to have their say”. 

In a nod to criticism that often comes from conservative politicians in both the UK and abroad, the station says “there are always more than two sides to every story” .

Comedian Andrew Doyle, who will present Free Speech Nation on the channel, said in a promo that the Brexit debate was “reduced to a binary issue of good versus evil, racist versus not racist”. 

GB News says it will promote debate whilst also “bringing all of the nation together, all in one place – uniting, not dividing.”

Who’s behind the channel? 

guests-on-the-andrew-marr-show-london Andrew Neil arrives at BBC Broadcasting House. Source: PA Images

The channel is being funded by various sources, with the involvement of US broadcasting giant Discovery perhaps the most significant investment.

Discovery Inc, the US-based documentary network, was the first major investor with reports of it investing around £20 million. The full amount raised was not revealed but is understood to be in the region of £60 million.

Discovery’s involvement provides both expertise and heft to GB News but the channel is also funded by Dubai-based investment group Legatum. 

Another investor is one of the UK’s most prominent hedge fund managers Paul Marshall.

Marshall is the co-founder of hedge fund Marshall Wace and was a donor to the Vote Leave campaign. His stake in GB News will be in a personal capacity, the company has said.

Who will be in front of the camera? 

There will be a few faces on GB News that will be familiar to Irish viewers. 

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Fermanagh-born Darren McCaffrey was formerly the Dublin Correspondent at Sky News before moving to Euronews. He now moves to GB News where he will be the station’s Political Editor. 

In the past few days McCaffrey has been tweeting about various UK news events, including tweeting a number of times about the Oxford students who voted to remove a portrait of the queen from their common room. 

You may also recognise the aforementioned Andrew Neil.

Neil was a veteran BBC journalist and one of the best-known political interviewers in the UK before leaving the broadcaster last year. 

A former editor of the Sunday Times, he has had a long – and sometimes controversial – career as a broadcaster. As well as presenting his own show, Neil is one of the founders of GB News and will serve as its chairman. 

He said last year that the station will be less like Sky News and “will be based more like MSNBC in America, which is on the left, and Fox, which is on the right.”

He has already already trailing that “Woke Watch” will be a segment on his new show.

Other UK journalists making the move to GB News include former BBC newsreader Simon McCoy, former Sky newsreader Colin Brazier, former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, ex-Sun journalist Dan Wootton and former Apprentice winner and tv panellist Michelle Dewberry.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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