O’Neill Concerned At Digital Switch Over Issues for Elderly

NEWCASTLE area Councillor Eamonn ONeill (SDLP) has made representations to the BBC voicing his further dissatisfaction at some aspects of the Digital Switchover Scheme.

Councillor O’Neill said: “At the beginning of October, I learned that some elderly constituents within Castlewellan were unable to access RTE channels following the switchover.  This was due to the BBC drastically under-estimating the demand for the Freeview boxes which receive the signal for RTE.

“This is more than just a technical issue… there are very important social, cultural and political issues at stake.  One local pensioner who is housebound and unable to attend her place of worship is now being denied the opportunity to watch live televised mass on RTE on a Sunday morning. This is directly impacting on this individual’s human rights.

“No one must underestimate the importance of this weekly routine to this pensioner – it is not only her religious belief but is also a major part of her retaining her independence at this time in her life.

“These miscalculations on behalf of the BBC mean that some people will have to wait weeks, even months, to have the appropriate Freeview boxes installed. An apology was issued by the Help Scheme but this is too little, too late.

“I do however acknowledge that with such a large logistical operation, gaps will appear. However, any such incidents must be rectified without delay,” added Councillor O’Neill.