|Owned by||Raidió Teilifís Éireann|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom, Ireland|
|Sister channel(s)||RTÉ One
RTÉ News Now
RTÉ Ireland (lit. Raidió Teilifís Éireann Ireland = Radio Television Ireland Ireland) is the planned international television channel by Ireland's public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). The channel will broadcast online at RTÉ.ie, IPTV and on satellite in the United Kingdom.
The channel is expected to offer programmes from RTÉ One and Two, including education, drama, comedy, music, news and current affairs. This includes The All Ireland Talent Show, Fair City, Dragons' Den and The Late Late Show. The Oireachtas (parliament) has passed legislation requiring that RTÉ supply international service to suit the needs of Irish citizens living abroad, along with other new digital RTÉ channels.
The channel was initially to launch in Spring 2009 under the branding RTÉ International. The channel was expected to launch in the United Kingdom in March 2009. (RTÉ's domestic channels are already available on Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media in Northern Ireland, but not to Great Britain, owing to rights restrictions.) There are also plans to launch the channel in North America and Central Europe.
A similar service aired from 1996 until 2002 operated by a now-defunct cable and satellite channel, Tara Television. This channel was carried on Sky in the United Kingdom and on a small number of cable television services. The channel was 75% owned by UPC, RTÉ owned the remaining 25%. It was claimed by RTÉ that the channel could not pay royalty payments due to RTÉ for their programming. Despite a last minute deal between Setanta Sports and UPC, Tara closed down, leaving Irish viewers in Britain without access to Irish television. Setanta then considered themselves creating a direct replacement channel carrying the best of RTÉ TV in Britain during 2004, but this did not materialise.
A Liberal Democrat councillor, of Irish extraction, Martin Curry, is seeking to have RTÉ International carried on the digital terrestrial television service, Freeview, if Sky removes its channels from Freeview, rather than allowing Sky to use the bandwidth for subscription television. However, this is unlikely to happen as limited capacity on Freeview generally prevents the broadcasting of minority channels during main daytime/peak time hours.
On 17 March 2008, Eamon Ryan the Minister for Communications announced the launch of RTÉ International under the new working title of Diaspora TV. On 4 June 2008 The Irish Post reported that the channel would not in fact be named Diaspora TV and would keep the RTÉ International name, they also added that the channel may be operational ahead of the previously scheduled launch date of 17 March 2009. On 2 November 2008, RTÉ postponed the planned launch, citing straitened financial circumstances. The broadcaster wrote to Eamon Ryan during October claiming that it would be “unwise” for it to continue with the plan. RTÉ said it intended to honour the commitment in the 2007 Broadcasting Act and hoped to launch the station by the end of 2009. A spokeswoman for Eamon Ryan said the decision to postpone the launch of the channel was "a reflection of the financial realities in Ireland and worldwide". She said the minister is committed to the idea of RTÉ International and that it could be a "brilliant product" similar to BBC World News.
In September 2013 RTÉ announced new plans to launch the channel in the United Kingdom under the working title of RTÉ Ireland, as part of their five-year strategic plan.
- "Strategy 2012-2017" (PDF). RTÉ. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
- [dead link]
- Oatts, Joanne (2007-02-12). "Sky warns cable viewers channels may go". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
- "RTÉ International: It's coming soon!". The Irish Post. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18.
- Tighe, Mark (2008-11-02). "RTÉ shelves UK launch". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
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