A NEW Irish language children's TV channel for TG4 has been given the green light.
The €3.3m provision for the channel, which will be called Cúla4, was included as part of the Budget 2023 allocation for TG4 which received a record increase of €7.3m in funding, the largest ever annual increase to the broadcaster.
Plans for the channel include a children's news service, Irish animation and edutainment content, among others.
Speaking about the statutory clearance for the new channel, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said:
"I am delighted to announce my consent to TG4's proposal to establish a new dedicated Irish language children's channel, Cúla4.
"While full details of the new channel will be announced by TG4 in due course, it will include a children's news service, edutainment content, drama, Irish animation, and will reflect the diverse backgrounds of children living in all parts of Ireland, but particularly in Gaeltacht and Irish speaking communities."
This consent follows the completion of sectoral impact and public value assessments as required under the Broadcasting Act, 2009. The outcome of these assessments was positive in terms of the additional value which such a channel will bring to Irish broadcasting, content provision for young people and language development.
Commenting on the overall increase to TG4, Minister Martin added:
"This increase is hugely significant, not only in terms of Irish language programming but in the role played by TG4 in the delivery of the government's 20-year strategy for the Irish language, and will enable TG4 to better serve Irish-speaking communities, and provide increased support to our regional creative companies."
TG4 Director General, Alan Esslemont welcomed the announcement saying:
“As we gradually emerge from the pandemic and face other global crises, we must look towards the future and the kind of society we want to establish for future generations. We also need to think about how children will develop the abilities and creativity they need. Media is vital to the development of children’s understanding, attitudes and participation in society.
"We need to serve children and young people in safe spaces with trusted content. Public service broadcasters have a special role in this respect but Irish language media face an additional challenge as they compete for audiences in a global and predominantly English language media market."
Development work for the channel began in 2022 with the appointment of Karina Feirtéar as Cúla4 Channel Manager. Niamh Ní Chróinín is the new presenter of Cúla4 and will act as a youth ambassador for TG4 representing Cúla4 at public events and functions, on-screen as Cúla4’s presenter and as Cúla4’s cross-platform voice
Cúla4 will continue to increase the provision of programming for children from the independent production sector with new content in the schedule, and on non-linear platforms aimed at children.