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Which sports events should be free-to-air in Ireland? The public are being asked to have their say

A public consultation will last until January.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

A PUBLIC CONSULTATION has been launched to determine the public’s views on sporting events which should be made available on a free-to-air basis.

Minister for Sport and Media Catherine Martin announced the consultation on the designation of sporting and other events as being of “major importance to society”.

Events that are traditionally considered of major importance to society are broadcast on a free-to-air broadcasters such as RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4, on a live or deferred basis as a matter of public interest.

Events currently designated include the summer Olympic games, the All-Ireland Football and Hurling finals, Ireland’s home, away and tournament games in the European Championships and the World Cup, and Ireland’s games in the Rugby World Cup.

However, some GAA matches and Republic of Ireland soccer matches have moved to subscription services in recent years.

The consultation aims to give the public a say about the current list of events, and whether any events should be considered for addition to or removal from it.

Launching the consultation, Martin said it was important that events which are of great importance to Ireland were shown on free-to-air television.

“Sporting or other events of national importance support social cohesion and create a sense of community, encouraging participation in the event itself and creating a sense of national pride,” she said.

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“Having events of national importance behind a pay wall restricts those who are not in a financial position to subscribe from participating and unfairly excludes those without access through a paywall to the events from engaging with the events on an equivalent basis.”

The online survey is available here and the closing date for observations is 14 January 2021.

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