THERE have been calls for RTÉ to amend its competition rules so that viewers in Northern Ireland can apply to win prizes offered on the broadcaster's television shows.
With Co. Down presenter Patrick Kielty about to take up his position as the new host of the Late Late Show, it's been highlighted that viewers in the North will not be able to take part in the show’s popular competitions.
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has contacted RTÉ on the matter, calling on the broadcaster to reconsider its decision to prohibit viewers in the North from entering their competitions.
“There is great excitement and anticipation across the North as one of our own, Patrick Kielty, is set to take the helm of one of Irish television’s most iconic institutions, the Late Late Show,” Mr McNulty said today.
“From Derry to Newry and of course, Dundrum, people will be tuning in to show their support and to see how Patrick gets on in his new gig.
“I was dismayed to learn that even though a presenter from the North will now be presenting the programme, RTÉ intend to keep in place their ban preventing viewers here from entering competitions run by the broadcaster,” he explained.
Mr McNulty added that when he previously raised this issue with the broadcaster they informed him of their concerns that allowing viewers in the North to enter could cause legal issues.
However he claims these issues have since been addressed by Stormont’s Department for Communities.
“I have engaged in exhaustive discussions with RTÉ on this issue in recent years, informing them that the law had been changed here to address their concerns,” he said.
“Last year the then Director-General informed me the broadcaster would be reviewing their legal advice following these changes, but still we are no further on.”
He added: “It’s farcical that we are now facing a situation where a Northerner will now be fronting the programme, while his family and friends sit at home watching, unable to enter the very competitions he is promoting on his debut show.
“This is not solely a Late Late Show issue, viewers here are preventing from entering competitions on programmes like The Sunday Game, even when Northern teams are competing.
“I have once again reached out to RTÉ through new Director-General Kevin Bankhurst asking him to revisit this issue and lift this ban once and for all.
“The broadcaster has an obligation to its many viewers in the North and it’s long past time they took their views and concerns on board.”
Kielty fronts his first episode of the Late Late Show on Friday, September 15.