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Michelle O’Neill calls on BBC to reverse GAA snub

1 February, 2019 - by Michelle O'Neill

The Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin Michelle O’Neill is calling on the BBC to reverse a decision to slash its coverage of GAA Ulster Championship games.

The Sinn Féin Vice President said the BBC move to reduce from seven to two, the number of live televised games it broadcast in last year’s Ulster Championship caused ‘huge anger’ among the GAA community. She has now written to BBC management seeking talks over the lack of coverage by the network.

“In advance of this year’s Ulster Championship I believe the BBC should reverse the decision that saw such a drastic reduction in live televised matches in 2018,” Michelle O’Neill commented.

“Such programming decisions by a public broadcaster, disproportionately and negatively, impacts on the GAA community. They also create a perception in that community that the BBC, as the world’s biggest broadcasting organisation, has a clear bias against Irish national games. In my view there is a clear public service obligation on the BBC to facilitate widespread access to GAA coverage in a manner that reflects the popularity of, and interest in, all levels of Gaelic games, which includes National League and provincial club championships.

“These are issues that my party colleagues, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile and Sinead Ennis MLA, have previously raised with the BBC but to date there has been little tangible progress.

“I have therefore written to the Director of the BBC in Belfast seeking a meeting to discuss what substantive preparations are being made to improve GAA coverage for spectators in the north.”

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