Senator says shutdown will isolate people in the North and the UK.

Sligo News File Online.

Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney is calling on the new RTE Authority to reverse its decision to withdraw its Longwave 252 kHZ service.  The broadcaster plans to close this essential service next year, despite extensive campaigns by groups in Northern Ireland and abroad demanding that it be retained. 

 Senator Mooney commented, “I have been inundated with emails and phonecalls from people in Northern Ireland and the UK who are extremely angry about RTE’s decision.  The move goes against the principles of the Good Friday Agreement, whereby there is an onus on RTE to transmit into Northern Ireland and to the Irish diaspora in the UK.

“At a recent meeting of the Irish Association for Economic, Social and Cultural Relations, Mr. Jeff Dudgeon, a former Trinity College graduate and Ulster Unionist member of Belfast City Council expressed strong opposition to RTE’s decision, which indicates that all sides of the community in Northern Ireland are against the closure of the service.

“There are no technical reasons RTE should shut down this transmitter, which was upgraded to modern standards in 2007 at considerable expense.  RTE has not answered the question as to what it will do with it if it shuts it.

“RTE has already bowed to pressure and has agreed to delay the closure of the transmitter until next year, but it needs to go further and scrap plans to wind down the service.

“I will be calling on the recently appointed RTE Authority, upon taking office, to immediately reverse this decision.  Chairperson Designate Moya Doherty will be appearing before the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications in the coming weeks to have her appointment confirmed, and I will be taking the opportunity as a member of that committee to question her as to her position on the future of Longwave 252”, concluded Senator Mooney.