FF Criticises RTÉ on Decision to treat North as ‘International territory’

– Users in NI being forced to use ‘International’ Player App – 
– Move ‘a retrograde step’ and should be reversed –


Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party Chairman and Spokesperson on Border Region Development Brendan Smith TD has written to RTÉ senior management seeking an explanation for the decision to force viewers in the North to use the ‘international’ version of the RTÉ Player App. This is a change and until recently, viewers all across the country had access to the same facility.

Deputy Smith commented, “Over recent weeks I have received a number of representations from members of the public in Northern Ireland complaining that they no longer have access to RTE Player app they have been using since its launch and are instead being forced to change to an ‘international’ version of the application. This new app has greatly reduced access to domestic programmes, is clearly intended for overseas users and requires a €120 subscription to unlock content that is free on the regular service.

“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. I am seeking an early commitment from RTÉ management to reverse this development immediately.

“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. Indeed, when the player was first launched, serious efforts were made to ensure a ‘whole of island’ service, with detailed advice provided to Northern viewers on how to deal with their internet service providers if they could not access the service. (That advice, dated 2012, is still available here: http://www.rte.ie/info/liveplayerfaq_nigeoaccess.html )

“That approach now appears to have been abandoned, either by accident or design, and it needs to be fixed. Citizens across our country, north and south, should have the same access to RTÉ programming and the same services. If RTÉ are unwilling to commit to a speedy reversal of the current situation, I will be bringing this up with the Minister for Communications at the earliest opportunity and will be pursuing it in the Dáil when it reconvenes.”

– Users in NI being forced to use ‘International’ Player App – 
– Move ‘a retrograde step’ and should be reversed –


Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party Chairman and Spokesperson on Border Region Development Brendan Smith TD has written to RTÉ senior management seeking an explanation for the decision to force viewers in the North to use the ‘international’ version of the RTÉ Player App. This is a change and until recently, viewers all across the country had access to the same facility.

Deputy Smith commented, “Over recent weeks I have received a number of representations from members of the public in Northern Ireland complaining that they no longer have access to RTE Player app they have been using since its launch and are instead being forced to change to an ‘international’ version of the application. This new app has greatly reduced access to domestic programmes, is clearly intended for overseas users and requires a €120 subscription to unlock content that is free on the regular service.

“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. I am seeking an early commitment from RTÉ management to reverse this development immediately.

“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. Indeed, when the player was first launched, serious efforts were made to ensure a ‘whole of island’ service, with detailed advice provided to Northern viewers on how to deal with their internet service providers if they could not access the service. (That advice, dated 2012, is still available here: http://www.rte.ie/info/liveplayerfaq_nigeoaccess.html )

“That approach now appears to have been abandoned, either by accident or design, and it needs to be fixed. Citizens across our country, north and south, should have the same access to RTÉ programming and the same services. If RTÉ are unwilling to commit to a speedy reversal of the current situation, I will be bringing this up with the Minister for Communications at the earliest opportunity and will be pursuing it in the Dáil when it reconvenes.”

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