A WESTMINSTER MP has called on RTÉ to make its content freely available to the Irish diaspora as they remain isolated and away from their usual communities and social networks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Armagh native Conor McGinn is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and Irish In Britain.
This week he has written to RTÉ Director General Ms Dee Forbes asking for RTÉ programming and content to be made available to international audiences, in particular the Irish in Britain, during the crisis.
Regarding the move, he said: “In these exceptionally challenging times, many Irish people living away from home are isolated from their usual community and social networks, particularly the older Irish community in Britain.”
He added: “RTÉ already provide a great service for the Irish abroad and we’re hugely grateful for their commitment.
"During this crisis, I’m asking them for an extra special effort for us by making live programming and content available for free through the RTÉ Player.
“This would allow the Irish in Britain to access wonderful dramas and documentaries, current affairs and iconic programmes from the archives that keep us all in touch with home, and which in these tough times help keep our spirits up and remind of us who and what we are.”
Mr McGinn’s call was supported by Brian Dalton, Chief Executive of Irish in Britain, which represents over 120 Irish organisations across England, Scotland and Wales.
Mr Dalton said: “This could be a great opportunity to ensure we remain connected at a such a difficult time, and honour the story of our community in Britain.
“We will be the builders again as we recover. Thank you Conor for leading this initiative.”
Mr McGinn, who is the MP for St Helens North, also commended the work of Irish organisations across Britain who are supporting the most vulnerable members of the community at this time.
“Our community organisations are doing a fantastic job in ensuring the most vulnerable in our community – and indeed the wider community – are being contacted and supported,” he said.
“We are also so proud of the many Irish people working in the NHS, critical frontline services and key industries across Britain at this time of collective effort by all. They are the best of us.”