RESEARCH into the way Irish people living in Britain use RTÉ’s at-risk longwave 252 radio service is now being rolled out, the Government confirmed today.
Diaspora minister Jimmy Deenihan revealed that the study, funded by a €100,000 grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs, will be managed by the Irish in Britain organisation.
The charity, which acts as an umbrella organisation for Irish clubs and centres across Britain, is currently “advertising for a vendor who will conduct qualitative research into the frequency of listenership, attitudes to its content and perceived benefits and weaknesses in the service” it was confirmed today.
Promised last December, when RTÉ announced its plans to shelve the closure of its popular longwave service until 2017, the survey is being undertaken to gather “specific research to understand the community in the UK who listen to the longwave service” the broadcaster confirmed at the time.
Today Minister Deenihan urged the community across Britain to take part in the research, in order to inform a “solution” to the intended longwave closure that would be “acceptable to all”.
“When RTÉ postponed its planned cessation of longwave radio services in December, it was announced that funding under the Emigrant Support Programme would be provided to address the lack of data on who listens to RTÉ radio in Britain and how they access it,” Minister Deenihan said.
“I am pleased that this research is now being rolled out and I would encourage the Irish community in the UK to engage with this process as it seeks to deliver a better picture of need, to inform a solution acceptable to all.”
He added; “I am very conscious of the importance of the longwave service for the Irish community in the UK, especially the older members of this community, in maintaining their links to Ireland.
“I hope that through this research a more complete picture of the current level of listenership will be available’’
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Irish in Britain organisation and other community representatives are among the “key stakeholders”, alongside RTÉ, in the consultative group overseeing the research.
Last year thousands of people across Britain signed an online petition, or wrote to The Irish Post, in protest against RTÉ’s plans to close its longwave radio service permanently – which was originally due to happen on October 27, 2014 but was postponed until January 19, 2015 before being postponed until 2017 last December.