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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Some people in the North can't watch Operation Transformation, but RTÉ says it's not to blame

The issue comes from restrictions with iTunes.

The stars of this year's Operation Transformation.
The stars of this year's Operation Transformation.
Image: RTÉ

RTÉ SAYS THAT an iTunes restriction is to blame for locking Northern Irish people out of shows such as Operation Transformation.

Around 30% of the shows on RTÉ’s International Player iOS app are restricted internationally. However, viewers in the North who download the app using a UK iTunes account are being hit with these restrictions.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on the border region Brendan Smyth said he hoped the broadcaster had made a mistake asking viewers to download the app, which has a  €120 subscription fee.

For now, I’m prepared to give RTÉ the benefit of the doubt and hope that it is simply a mistake made by some over enthusiastic programmers unfamiliar with the all-Ireland dimension required of RTÉ.

“RTÉ is the Irish national broadcaster and has an obligation to its viewers across all thirty two counties. The idea that ‘domestic services’ would be limited to residents in the Republic only, would be a seriously retrograde step and would represent a repudiation of the good work and commitment of the station over generations.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie this evening, RTÉ said that the issue came from iTunes restrictions.

Those restrictions left shows life Operation Transformation, The Imelda May Show, Reality Bites and From Here to Maternity blocked.

Because of restrictions within the iTunes system, people in Northern Ireland with a UK iTunes account are being redirected to download RTÉ Player International on iOS. Access via desktop and Android is not affected.

“RTÉ is aware of the issue and is currently exploring how this can be resolved.”

Through a combination of Saorview and other distribution networks, RTÉ is available to 94% of Northern Irish homes free of charge.

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