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Nothing on telly? You can now flick over and watch the Oireachtas

Only if you’re into that sort of thing, of course, and have UPC or Sky.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, Seán Barrett. Source: Susan Kennedy/Lensmen

YOU CAN NOW bring the Dáil and Seanad, as well as Oireachtas committees into your front room, with the official launch of the Oireachtas TV channel.

The service, already available online, was first launched in 2011 as a pilot channel on UPC.

Following on from its success, with claims that as many as 55% of viewers watched it regularly, the Houses of the Oireachtas moved to roll it out further.

It’s now available free of charge on UPC 207 and Sky Channel 574.

A statement today said it will soon be provided on the Eircom TV platform.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barret said that the service is inspired by BBC Parliament.

“I have been determined that every household in Ireland has access to a channel whereby they can tune in when they want and judge for themselves through a first hand account of our political system live on their TV,” he said.

In that sense, today is an important day for Irish democracy, at it brings the business of our national parliament closer to the citizens we serve.

Saorview is yet to follow in the path of UPC, Eircom, and Sky by offering Oireachtas TV.

RTÉ defended this move in a statement issued when the channel was first announced in July.

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The station said:

“As a public service broadcaster, [RTÉ] has for many years provided extensive coverage of the proceedings of the Oireachtas across all of its services on television, on radio, and online.

RTÉ commits significant journalistic staff and technical resources to its Oireachtas coverage to provide impartial and informative programming to its viewers as well as in-depth analysis from its political staff and correspondents.

It also notes that RTÉ is unable to offer discounted rates on the Saorview service.

TheJournal.ie poll, while unscientific, showed an even split between whether people were going to watch the channel, occasionally watch it, and not watch it all.

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