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Minister designates Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Finals as 'events of major importance to Irish society'

Naughten adds Camogie and Football Finals to the ‘free-to-air television’ list



Wednesday, August 23rd 2017

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten is pleased to announce that he has designated the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Final as ‘events of major importance to society’. The designation by Minister Naughten will ensure that these events remain available on a Free-to-Air and live basis for Irish television viewers.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 provides that the Minister may, by Order, designate certain sporting and cultural events of major importance to society to ensure these events are freely available on national television. In accordance with the legislation, a review of the list of designated events takes place every three years. Arising from the current review, the Minister took the decision to designate the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Finals as ‘events of major importance to society’ thereby adding these to the existing list of designated events. Minister Naughten secured Cabinet approval for his decision.

Minister Denis Naughten said: “I am really pleased to announce that I have added the All-Ireland Senior Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Finals to the Free to Air designation list with full backing from the Cabinet and the European Commission. While the designation guarantees that these events must be freely available on television, it also confirms that they are of special resonance and have a distinct cultural importance for the people of Ireland. I have always been adamant that ladies football and camogie be treated equally with men’s football and hurling and today’s announcement recognises that equality. There is no doubt in my mind that ladies GAA sporting heroes have become solid role models for young girls growing up in Ireland. GAA is part of our DNA as a country so it is only right that everyone gets to enjoy the female and male finals equally – either live in Croke Park or at home on television on a free-to-air basis. The finals are the result of a long hard road for the teams. The designation of these events is also an acknowledgment of the valuable contribution that the representative associations make to women’s sport throughout Ireland. I want to compliment them today on their work. Recognition must also go to our public service broadcasters, particularly TG4 for its long-standing sponsorship and coverage of Senior Ladies Gaelic Football and to RTÉ for its coverage of Senior Camogie.”

Catherine Neary, President of the Camogie Association stated: “I welcome today’s announcement by Minister Naughten which recognises the important role and cultural significance which our game plays in Irish society. This designation will help to secure the promotion of our Finals to every corner of the country and encourage new audiences to get involved with our game. I would encourage everyone to come out and support our upcoming All-Ireland Finals on September 10th either by attending on the day or by tuning in at home to watch our players on what is a wonderful celebration of Camogie.”

Speaking about the ‘Free to Air’ designation Ladies Gaelic Football Association President, Marie Hickey said: ‘’We are delighted that the Minister has included the Ladies Gaelic Football All Ireland Finals on the list of major sporting events to be listed as Free to Air. This is recognition of how far our sport has come and how hard our players, volunteers and administrators have worked to achieve this recognition.’’

The Minister’s Designation has now received approval from the European Commission in accordance with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and will be put before both Houses of the Oireachtas for a resolution on return from Summer recess.

Ends



Background

Designation of Major Events:

Under the Audio-visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, Member States are allowed to designate certain sporting and cultural events as being of major importance to society and to provide that events so designated should continue to be available on free to air television.

Section 162 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 sets out the provisions relating to the designation of events in Ireland and these require, inter alia, that a review process is undertaken every three years. The events currently designated are as follows:

Live:

- The Summer Olympics
- The All-Ireland Senior Inter-County Football and Hurling Finals
- Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in the European Football Championship and the FIFA World Cup Tournaments
- Ireland’s games in the European Football Championship Finals Tournament and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
- Ireland’s games in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament
- The Irish Grand National and the Irish Derby
- The Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show

The Directive obliges Member States to provide national legislation as the statutory basis for designating events. The Directive has been transposed into Irish law by the Broadcasting Act 2009.

  • Section 162 of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 provides that the Minister may by order: Designate events of major importance to society for which the right of a qualifying broadcaster to provide coverage on free television services should be provided in the public interest; and
  • Determine whether coverage of a designated event should be available on a live, deferred or both live and deferred basis and in whole, or in part or both in whole or in part.


Should the Minister decide to designate certain events, regard must be had to all the circumstances and in particular: 

  • The extent to which the event has a special general resonance for the people of Ireland; and
  • The extent to which the event has a generally recognised distinct cultural importance for the people of Ireland.

Consideration of both circumstances is required to assess whether a given event is of “major importance to society” under the 2009 Act.

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