RTE puts UK channel on hold

Ireland’s public broadcaster RTE has written to communications minister Eamon Ryan saying it would be unwise to continue with plans for a UK-based channel given the current economic climate. Advertisements for senior staff had already been posted.

The 2007 Broadcasting Act requires RTE to set up a channel to bring its programming to “Irish communities outside the Island of Ireland” and plans had previously been brought forward to launch the service on St Patrick’s Day 2009. However, with no time limit set the pressure for an immediate launch is removed.

RTE International was to have been a hybrid of RTÉ One and RTÉ Two with selected programming being drawn from the Gaelic-language channel TG4.

The government, which intended the channel to later launch to other Irish communities, remains committed to the project.