Digital Switchover Causes RTE Concerns Says McKevitt

SDLP Culture spokesperson, South Down MLA Karen McKevitt, said she is concerned many people across the North could be left without proper access to RTE services after the digital switchover in October.

Speaking after a meeting of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee in Stormont, she said: “We heard that 6% of people may not get the three RTE stations. OFCOM and Digital UK representatives are scheduled to to attend a committee meeting on 2 October and I have asked for access to RTE to be put on the agenda as a matter of urgency.

“Separately, we are getting reports through constituency offices that the Switchover Help Scheme has under-estimated demand for Freeview HD boxes needed to access RTE. Applicants are being told they will have to wait until November for supplies.

“This is not just an obscure technical matter, there are very important social, cultural and political issues at stake. Television now plays a central role in people’s lives and the range of services provided by RTE are in fact vital for proper balance in our cultural life. The whole issue of timely digital access to the full range of services available on the island of Ireland now needs to  be lifted up to the north-south level where it should have been dealt with before now.”