Written Answers - Broadcasting Legislation.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 613 No. 13

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  373.  Ms C. Murphy  Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy   asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   the people and groups who have lobbied him or his Department on the designation of the Ryder Cup as a free to air event; when contact was made by these people and groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3164/06]

  374.  Ms C. Murphy  Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy   asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources  Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey   if commitments have been made by his Department to the European tour and Ryder Cup organisers with regard to broadcasting the Ryder Cup; if commitments were made; the details of the commitments; when same were entered into; if same will impact on his decision over whether to designate the Ryder Cup as a free to air event; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3165/06]

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  I propose to take Questions Nos. 373 and 374 together.

My Department has made no commitments to the European tour in respect of the broadcasting of the Ryder Cup. In March 2003, the Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) Act 1999 (Designation of Major Events) Order 2003 specified the events designated as events of major importance to society for which the right of a qualifying broadcaster to provide coverage on free television services should be provided in the public interest. Section 9 of the Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) (Amendment) Act 2003 requires me to carry out a review of designated events not later than three years after the passing of the 2003 Act, that is to say, not later than April 2006.

I announced my intention to commence this review in December 2005. The purpose of the review is to consider if the list of events designated in 2003 should be amended. As part of the review, I initiated a public consultation process. My Department wrote to the sporting organisations that organise the events already designated along with the European tour and Ryder Cup informing them of the review and seeking their [1442]views. My Department has also sought the views of broadcasters. I have received submissions from event organisers, broadcasters and members of the public via written submission, e-mail and on an Internet forum. The submissions received have been made available on my Department’s website.

If, following the review, I should decide to amend the list of designated events, then, in accordance with the provisions of the Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) Act 1999, I will publish my intention to do so and seek the views of interested parties. This would involve a further formal consultation with event organisers and broadcasters. EU approval would also be required before I could lay an order before both Houses of the Oireachtas to give effect to the designation.


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