THE popular RTÉ Longwave (LW) radio service has been suspended for five weeks so that essential maintenance work can be completed.
Members of the Irish community across Britain rely on the channel to stay connected to the news, sports and entertainment they enjoy from back home in Ireland.
Its future hung in the balance when RTÉ announced plans to scrap the LW 252 service back in 2014.
But a vocal campaign – largely led by members of the Irish community in Britain – saw the Irish broadcaster reassess their plans and postpone the closure.
The latest statement on the future of the radio service, made in April this year by Hildegarde Naughton, Chair of the Oireachtas Communications Committee, confirmed that it would remain active for a further two years at least.
The “urgent” maintenance work currently being undertaken will ensure that is possible.
The service was suspended on September 10 and will remain so until October 17.
The five-week period follows an initial outage which saw the service suspended between 9.30am and 4.30pm on September 4 and 5.
In a statement, RTÉ explained: “The transmission equipment to enable the broadcast of the Longwave (LW) service has been in continuous operation for over 29 years. It now requires urgent attention.”
They added: “Having made the commitment to sustain the service, and while other long term alternative solutions continue to be explored, RTÉ has to undertake significant remedial works on elements of the transmission equipment, mainly the antenna/mast, which will guarantee the continuance of the LW service for a minimum of further two years. Given the height of the mast this work has to happen now in advance of the winter.
“The initial outage [was] to facilitate the preparatory work for a subsequent more extensive and essential body of work to maintain this service. This larger body of maintenance work will be carried out between Tuesday 10th September and Thursday 17th October.
“During both of these times, RTÉ Radio 1 will not be available via LW.”
The broadcaster went on to advise listeners that they could use alternative options to access RTÉ Radio 1 LW – including RTÉ’s online services, apps and the RTÉ Radio Player and through Virgin, SKY and Freesat on televisions.
“We remain mindful of the role that RTÉ plays in keeping Irish people in the UK and beyond informed and connected with home,” they added.
“Whilst the temporary suspension of service is necessary, we are confident that this investment will help to sustain the LW service for the medium term.”