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RTÉ respond to 'inaccurate and misleading claims' about their Olympics coverage in Northern Ireland

Some politicians say it is ‘unfair’ and ‘unacceptable’ that RTÉ’s coverage is unavailable in Northern Ireland.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

RTÉ HAVE RESPONDED to what they call “inaccurate and misleading claims” with regard to their television coverage of the 2020 Olympics in Northern Ireland. 

It follows criticism of the unavailability of RTÉ’s Olympics coverage in Northern Ireland.

Justin McNulty, an MLA for the SDLP and part of Armagh’s All-Ireland winning football team in 2002, claimed RTÉ have “geoblocked” their coverage and said he has complained in writing to RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes. 

Claiming RTÉ had decided not to broadcast their Olympic coverage in Northern Ireland, Mr. McNulty said it is a “great disappointment” that  ”whole families will be gathered around the television to watch their loved ones compete at the pinnacle of their chosen sport, only to find that our national broadcaster have blocked them from watching their coverage.”

Sinn Féin MLA Sinead Ennis said it is “entirely unacceptable” that RTÉ’s Olympics coverage is not available in Northern Ireland, adding it is “unfair on the citizens living in the north of Ireland who deserve to be allowed to watch the Olympics and support those competing from here.” She called on the International Olympic Committee to address the issue for future Olympic Games. 

Though not referencing any individual criticism, RTÉ issued a statement this evening clarifying that the unavailability of their coverage in Northern Ireland is out of their control and is a term of their broadcast contract with the International Olympic Committee. 

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“In response to a number of inaccurate and misleading claims regarding RTÉ coverage of Tokyo 2020″, read the statement, “RTÉ wishes to clarify the following: RTÉ has rights to broadcast Olympic Games coverage in the Republic of Ireland only.

“The International Olympics Committee (IOC), who are the rights owners for Olympics Games coverage and make all decisions about how rights are allocated across the different territories, have included Northern Ireland as part of UK broadcast territory for Olympics coverage. As such, the rights holders for NI are BBC and Discovery (on Eurosport).

“RTÉ has no control over IOC decisions in this regard.”

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Gavin Cooney

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