Seven English Language TV Channels In Ireland Vs. The Lone Irish Language Channel

At the present moment in time, there are two national television networks broadcasting in the English language across Ireland. Their output ranges from the public service channels RTÉ One, RTÉ2, RTÉ News Now and RTÉjr to the private alternatives TV3, 3e and be3. There are also four major TV networks in the United Kingdom with a local presence in the north-east of the country, supplying big-budget stations like BBC One Northern Ireland, BBC Two Northern Ireland, UTV, Channel 4, E4 and Channel 5. All of these naturally operate through the medium of the English language. Finally there is plethora of anglophone broadcasters available to Irish viewers via satellite and cable subscriptions, numbering in the many dozens, as well as several online streaming services from media companies such as Netflix and Amazon.

Obviously then, with the TV market saturated by English-speaking domestic and foreign broadcasters, the subject of the greatest complaint, criticism and animosity for some Irish politicians is the one television channel on the island functioning in our indigenous language. From the Limerick Leader:

FORMER mayor John Gilligan wants to see TG4 provide an English language commentary option on its live sporting events.

TG4, which broadcasts almost exclusively in the Irish language, shows a number of sporting events throughout the year, including Munster’s Pro-14 matches and secondary GAA competitions.

But Cllr Gilligan believes it is unfair that its commentary is only available in Irish – and wants the broadcaster to provide an interactive option giving simultaneous English commentary.

“We deserve the right to have the game in English – so at least we can understand it,” the outspoken councillor said.

While the inhabitants of the Big House may be gone, the below-stairs Uncle Séan is still with us. And just as pathetic is his attitudes as ever.

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16 comments

  1. Hate to be the spoiler here but the guy has a point. There’s a lot of people I know that would prefer to listen with an English commentary for most sports broadcast on TG4, his opinion isn’t fringe. Love TG4’s promotion of the Gaelic Language but sometimes a bit of flexibiility doesn’t go amiss since RTE offered irish commentary on the closing stages of the All-Ireland series so u can’t say the main broadcaster has done nothing.

    1. mark, the thing is that most the coverage of the Pro14 is in english. for example, next weekend there will be 7 games played, 5 of which will have english language coverage and only one will have coverage as gaeilge.

      And in general, how many English speaking channels are there on TV (at least 50 or 60), there is only one channel that uses Irish as a medium, a fraction of 1%. And this gilligan guy wants to dilute that even further.

      My Irish has improved watching Rugbaí Beo, and Marcus Horan speaks the language this season (and fair play to him as he used to do most of his commentary in English, so there was always smatterings of English commentary on there).

      It works fine as it is. Lets leave the Irish alone.

  2. Janice which is it,you are forever knocking us irish for not defending our language and culture,and at the same time you comment in support of people like this uncle sean who want to completely anglicise this state even more.make up your mind.

  3. no problem with that,can we have language selection for all irish based stations so, im sure you would support that

    1. Yeah, ideally everything should have Irish and English dubbing and subtitles so that people could pick the combination they prefer.

  4. The only reason TG4 gets the rights to these matches is because it’s in bastard Irish and therefore not worth as much for audience numbers. I’m sure the gombeen man politician knows this but Limerick voters like rugby. It’s like coralling the native americans in desert reservations and then suddenly taking those reservations away when oil is discovered on the land.
    TG4 went and tried things and found a great bargain and showcase for the language and the cold dead hand of the Seoiníns is now rising up to try to carry it down into the muck with them. The same thing happened with the soap Ros na Rún where English subtitles came as part of the show, whether you wanted them or not. Just to remind us that the Queen’s English rules in this country.
    For years Irish speakers have put up with substandard and woefully insufficient crap from the RTE forges, radio and televsion, with the exception of Raidio na Gaeltachta and TG4. The meager offerings RTÉ stir themselves to give us is awful bland crap and the only thing worse is the drivel the independent English speaking stations put out to fulfill their Irish requirements under their licenses. if the BCI was worth a wet fart it might notice that it’s rules are being routinely flouted. But it isn’t, so it doesn’t.

  5. People should not have to pay to learn Irish, to do all the Irish coarse language certs costs over €600 and no effort is ever made to actually teach Irish to the broad mass people, it has become a middle-class hobby of Gaelscoils to cater for people who do not want their kids to sit with foreigners , IRISH BELONGS TO EVERYONE

  6. No effort?! For god’s sake people have it taught to them for 14 years in school. There are a heap of free and subsidized adult classes around the country. There are all kinds of books to help you learn as well as radio stations, a television station, a newspaper, heaps of literature, stuff on the internet, government services, etc. I don’t know what certs you mean but if you’re trying to get some qualification out of it you probably need to pay for it, like every other cert in the world.
    There are a lot Gaelscoileanna in working class areas too. And there are Irish streams in a lot of disadvantaged secondary schools too. Not to mention that Gaeltacht areas are plagued with emigration because they’re poor and miserable. Just nobody wants to talk about them because it’s another stick to beat Irish speakers with. Nobody is taking Irish away from you, take some responsibility and learn it if you want to speak it.

    1. Right; but “a living language is a language in which you can make your living.” Louis de Paor
      Do we not think the capitalist ties/financial and material dependence on England (or for that matter, the US) foster an English-speaking Ireland and diminish the presence of Éire Ġaelaċ?
      If we took a minute to look in the mirror, I think we could see that one doesn’t necessitate the other – a bilingual future is absolutely possible in Ireland outside of a socailist/communist system – but we might have to examine the reasons preventing it a little more closely, a little more honestly.

    1. Janis, there is almost no convincing reason to learn Irish. It is wonderfully foreign from English and extremely difficult to learn without having experienced the example of native speakers. All business is conducted in English and the language has a history of association with poverty, backwardness, and decay. The amount of effort it requires to learn the language from an English-speaking background compared with the time that could be spent, say, making a living, just doesn’t hold up.

      And yet, it lives. It’s a miracle. Tá an teanga beo fós ‘s beidh sé go deo. And every generation of Irish men and women have kept it alive. Please tell me you’re an Irish speaker to have the gumption to make these comments!

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