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Action need to save local radio stations - David Cullinane

20 March, 2020 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment David Cullinane TD has called for urgent action to support local radio stations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a growing fear that hundreds of jobs could be lost in the sector and a vital cog in disseminating important information lost also.

Deputy Cullinane has raised concerns directly with Minister Richard Bruton and with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

He said:

"As the State deals with the unprecedented challenge COVID-19 presents it is vital that the essential service provided by local and Independent radio stations is maintained.

"Local radio stations play an important and trusted role in disseminating information and keeping the public informed.

"They are now faced with an unprecedented crisis and if measures and supports are not put in place this will result in significant job losses and a loss of an effective network of stations providing essential news and keeping the public informed.

"I have been in direct contact with Minister Richard Bruton on this matter and have asked him to urgently put in place a package of supports. I have also raised these issues with the Department of Business and Enterprise at a briefing today.

"I welcome the Minister’s request that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland waive the broadcasting levy for a period of six months, however he must go further and release €5 million of Sound and Vision funding as soon as is possible to ensure that each station can continue to deliver news and current affairs.

"This may involve changing the scope of the fund as the monies must be available for news, current affairs and speech-based programming. Administrative requirements may also need to be curtailed to speed up delivery.

"Responding to this crisis is difficult for all sectors of our economy. Local and independent radio has a hugely important role to play and needs to be protected and supported as best as possible during this difficult period."

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