RTÉ longwave 252 set to continue until at least 2019 after positive talks

RTÉ longwave 252 set to continue until at least 2019 after positive talks

RTÉ are set to continue transmitting their longwave 252 service until at least 2019 after positive talks took place at a consultative meeting in London.

The news follows a statement issued by RTÉ back in October in which the state broadcaster announced its “intention to close the service in 2017.”

RTÉ said at the time that they were exploring the possibility of using ‘alternative technologies’ to help maintain links with its audiences in Britain beyond the service’s closure.

But longwave is now set to continue transmitting through 2017 and 2018 after a week which saw calls for the service’s retention heard in the Seanad.

Last week, independent Senator Billy Lawless sought government assurances that the Irish in Britain would not lose access to longwave 252.

Senator Lawless urged Minister of State for the Diaspora Joe McHugh to “implore RTÉ management to reconsider this ageist and discriminatory cut” to its longwave 252 service.

Minister McHugh responded saying that he was “hopeful that a positive outcome can be achieved” on the matter in comments hinting at a better future for the service.

A date was set for a consultative meeting in London between representatives of RTÉ, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish community in Britain which has now produced positive results.

Irish community representative Tony Corcoran told The Irish Post: “There are no immediate plans in 2017 or even in 2018 to shut off longwave 252. It won’t be shut off within the next two years, I can definitely tell you that.

“Minister McHugh’s recent comments were the best indication that longwave 252 isn’t going anywhere for the immediate future.”

A DFA spokeswoman said: “The Consultative Group met earlier today. I understand that the Group has made progress and I'll update you in the coming weeks with anything further.”

The sentiment was reiterated in a statement issued by RTÉ, who would not deny that the service is set to continue through 2017 and 2018.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “RTÉ’s position remains as it has been. However, positive progress has been made by the Group and it is intended that an announcement will be forthcoming in the coming weeks."