Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh T.D. has called for more Irish language news reports on mainstream RTÉ TV news programmes.

Minister McHugh told an audience in Killarney, Co Kerry, where he launched the annual cultural celebration Oireachtas na Samhna, that the national broadcaster already has an ‘excellent’ record on promoting Irish.

However the Minister said: “We have a situaton – which I often see – where a news report appears on the Six One News in English and the same report appears on TG4 an hour later in Irish.

“It often involves regional reports from Gaeltacht areas which were filmed originally as Gaeilge and the reporter is asked to do an English version.

“Why can’t RTÉ broadcast the original report in Irish and include sub-titles in English? I think they can do that; the technology is there and I know the willingness is there.”

The Donegal Fine Gael TD, who says he continues to learn new Irish words every day, said the audience for such reports is nationwide.

“It appeals to that gaelscoil child and his or her parent in Meath or Louth or Dublin or Wexford – and tells them their language, their native language is part of the main news programme and is relevant,” said McHugh.

“I know RTÉ News Now does broadcast TG4 news reports; and no-one is asking RTÉ News to change their news agenda or their running order on news stories.

“But I think this would be another small step in taking the language to a mainstream audience.

“Every year during Seachtain Na Gaeilge – for a week or so – RTÉ does include lots of Irish initatives in news programmes and through their content from continuity announcers to weather presenters.

“It would be a massive boost for the language if that attitude was adopted all-year-round.”

McHugh said Bliain Na Gaeilge 2018 next year is an opportunity to do that for 12 months – and beyond.

“It should be a normal natural thing and has the potential to have a positive impact for Irish,” he added.

"Media organisations generally have had a very positive impact on the language. The 'Seachtain' news supplement and education supplement in the Irish Independent on a Wednesday is hugely popular - as are the Irish sections of the Irish Times.

"Locally in Donegal both traditional printed newspapers and online papers often carry Irish content and I know our local radio stations also serve the language well. All these initiatives - taken together - have had a hugely positive impact on the use of Irish."

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