BBC NI not catering for Gaelic fans…

PADDY Heaney has gained quite a loyal following since his respected GAA column started a few short years ago, so the BBC won’t be taking his powerful argument and criticism lightly. Heaney points out that despite the growing popularity of Gaelic games, BBC Radio Ulster seems reluctant to give them the coverage he believes they deserve. The call comes after the Gaelic Players Association voted to strike over the distribution of player grants.

  • Perhaps because the Gaelic season never actually seems to end and it receives saturation coverage on television, the radio budget has run dry?

  • Hogan

    Good article by Heaney. Measured, not ranting. Hope it has some effect?

  • Shore Road Resident

    The fact that GAA and football take place on different days of the weekend really ought to make equal coverage a simple matter of rostering.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    A timely article by the best sportswriter in the north. BBC’s neglect of Gaelic games is a longstanding disgrace. There’ll be at least 12,000 or more at the Ulster Club semi-finals this weekend. The cost of bringing live radio broadcasts from both games probably wouldn’t even come to £1000. Yet are Radio Ulster providing coverage?

    I stood in Crossmaglen recently alongside about 9,000 others at the Armagh county final. Did Radio Ulster cover the game? Of the Tyrone county final (att. 10,000) or either the Derry county final or replay (att. c.11,000)? Did they hell.

    Fair play to local soccer and rugby for the coverage they receive. If the soccer lads can get live radio coverage and extensive TV coverage for games attended by no more than a few hundred (or less), good luck to them.

    But GAA fans are entitled to better than they are getting. We need to break with the habit of sullenly stewing and muttering “Sure what would you expect?”. We need to be more forthright than we usually are in making our displeasure known.

    (I understand the hapless Mr Glynn at BBC Sport – who sounded somewhat ragged last week on TalkBack as Mr Heaney tore him to shreds – has been inundated with thousands of calls, emails and letters since this article first appeared. Good. I don’t actually think the decision-makers at BBCNI are simply bigots with a sectarian axe to grind. Rather I think that BBCNI is just such a unionist-dominated workplace that the decision-makers are genuinely – and quite unbelievably – unaware of how big GAA is! Well, hopefully they’ll have their eyes opened now!)

  • Hogan

    I was going to say something derogatory towards BBC radio ulster’s existing sunday programming e.g. its a graveyard for past presenters ,Bennet, Walter Love etc.

    However, having just looked at their scheduling it would seem that they are providing the breadth of content that sets the worlds best public broadcaster appart from commercial radio i.e. talking heads playing the latest drivel that music moguls churn out to the great unwashed.

    I may not want to listen to ‘Strike up the band’ but i am glad to live in a country where we have a broadcaster that schedules it alongside ‘book corner’ and ‘culan’.

    Sunday radio should be different, if you turn on the radio, you should know its sunday. In our house we couldn’t eat the after-mass fry without Fr.Dot d’Arcy chattering away in the background.

    So after defending the present content and still with my earlier point wanting more GAA content let me present the solution.

    Radio Ulster (as any listener to Gerry Anderson on a Tuesday morning will tell you) has the capacity to split coverage between its MW and FM service so any matches can easily be covered on the 1341MW service.

  • Hogan

    In saying that though it is a fact that Catholics are less likely to pay the bloody tv license.

  • gaelgannaire

    I too think the GAA is hard done by and the service needs to be significantly improved and continually monitored.

    But in the interest of debate I would have to point out that if the BBC simply went by attendence figures at games then there would be little coverage of other sports at all.

    I have seen 1000+ crowds at underage finals which would it seems to me push these games up the list pass other sports, however is the Down under 16 football final more significant than an all-Ireland basket-ball final or an international ladies hockey game?

    I myself have no firm opinion on the matter.

    But if there was more GAA on the TV could that harm the attendence figures?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Gaelgannaire

    “I have seen 1000+ crowds at underage finals which would it seems to me push these games up the list pass other sports,”

    The issue is not that other sports receive good coverage. That is a good thing. The issue is that Gaelic football receives very poor coverage, despite being, by some considerable distance, the most popular spectator sport in BBCNI’s target area.

    “But if there was more GAA on the TV could that harm the attendence figures?”

    This was an argument within the GAA during the 1980s, when only the AI finals and semis were broadcast live. However since the early 90s, the massive expansion of live GAA coverage on RTE has coincided with an unprecedented explosion in the popularity of the games. So whereas in 1989, say a Munster hurling semi-final was being watched by 30,000 in Thurles, now they’re 50,000 in Thurles for an equivalent game, and half a million tuning in on TV. So the GAA has learned that its potential audience is not set at a fixed number, and TV/radio/press coverage is a hugely effective way of maximising it.

    As for Chekov’s remark that GAA receives “saturation TV coverage” – er, I think you’ll find BBCNI has brought live coverage of THREE matches in 2007. The MacRory Cup final (att several thousand), one Ulster semi (can’t actually remember which) and the Ulster final (att 35,000).

    But that’s still too much for you, isn’t it?

    But I think Chekov has demonstrated an important point here. When it comes to GAA, there are those who want to see it, those who don’t care, and those who actively DO NOT want to see it. (As in: Get that oul fenian bogball off my screen.) And the BBC tends to sympathise more with the latter, even though they are a small, bigoted minority.

    (On “anything for a quiet life” grounds, I suspect. Which is why pro-GAA people need to make life very noisy and bothersome indeed for the GAA-neglecting BBC.)

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Presumably the fact that RTE is covering the bigger games may be a factor – Non Irons can pick national broadcaster of choice. The program the BBC did about the Down GAA player going to Aussie Rules was absolutely brilliant and not sure RTE would do such a good job.

  • [i]In saying that though it is a fact that Catholics are less likely to pay the bloody tv license.

    Posted by Hogan on Nov 14, 2007 @ 02:26 PM[/i]

    Can you provide evidence to back that sectarian rant up?

  • Hogan

    Oh dammit!

    I got snared in the anti-catholic rant monitor?

    1: Stop choking.
    2: Breathe normally.
    3: Have a look at some of my past posts.

    Let me know when you’ve figured it out?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sammy

    “Presumably the fact that RTE is covering the bigger games may be a factor – Non Irons can pick national broadcaster of choice.”

    Clearly this is an abdication of responsibility. Perhaps people in NI should be given the option of paying their TV licence fee to RTE rather than BBC?

    Besides, live television coverage of TWO Ulster championship games per year is an absolute joke, no matter what way you look at it.

    (RTE cover games from all four provinces, and they are able to do so, because the will exists. They have cleared the decks and done the needful to provide coverage. Whereas BBC make excuses and reinforce the stereotype that exists in the nationalist community about the Bigoted Bastards Corporation.)

    Besides, Heaney’s article concerns radio coverage firstly. Radio Ulster has both MW and FM frequencies, so the bandwidth and scheduling possibility exists. (No need to sack Walter Love.)

    The costs are minimal (I’d say you could provide live radio coverage of a game for two or three hundred quid) so the resources exist.

    GAA games in inaccessible rural locations in the depths of winter pull crowds of several thousand – in the summer, tens of thousands. Applying the usual formula of one attendee = 50 potential listeners, then clearly a large potential audience exists.

    So the question is, why doesn’t Radio Ulster
    broadcast major events like the Armagh County Final?

    And the answer, of course, is that nobody has given them a good kick up the arse to make them do it.

    Bravo Mr Heaney!

  • lib2016

    “…it is a fact that Catholics are less likely to pay the bloody tv license.”

    What’s worse – there’s a rumour round our way that they’ve recently brought in a special license for the colour, bastards! 😉

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Billy,

    “Clearly this is an abdication of responsibility. Perhaps people in NI should be given the option of paying their TV licence fee to RTE rather than BBC? ”

    Perhaps cooperation/joint programming with RTE is the way forward.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sammy

    Very good idea.

  • Bemused

    I personally wouldn’t piss on the GAA if they were on fire but this does seem prima facie discriminatory. That said, what do you expect? This is the broadcaster that encourages the use of ‘province’, ‘ulster’, ‘mainland’ and all the usual nonmenclature of unionism and then bans reporters from using ‘the North’, ‘the six counties’ etc. – utter bunch of sectarian cunts.

  • missfitz

    Sir Michael Lyons was on Stephen Nolan the other morning and was asked directly about this. He implied that something significant was going to happen about coverage of GAA events, so it will be very interesting to see if anything transpires

  • Token Dissent

    Coverage of the GAA does appear to be lacking. May I just add however that the BBC’s ‘coverage’ of the Irish League and local football is appalling.

  • Bran Mak Morn

    Fair play to local soccer and rugby for the coverage they receive. If the soccer lads can get live radio coverage and extensive TV coverage for games attended by no more than a few hundred (or less), good luck to them.

    I wouldn’t call one or two cup finals and a few minutes on Monday night’s news extensive. Perhaps as much as the Irish League deserves but that is open to debate. Don’t forget that Sky now own the rights to live Irish League football on TV.

  • “bans reporters from using ‘the North’, ‘the six counties’ etc. – utter bunch of sectarian cunts.”

    Oh mope away off. I’ve heard them use “the North” on TV and seen it online (e.g here).

    And you defend the use of the six counties and then call someone else “sectarian cunts”? Catch yourself on.

  • Oh btw – do UTV not cover GAA matches? I’m sure I noticed more than 3 a year.

  • Nevin

    Perhaps the local broadcasters lost out in the bidding war?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Beano

    “And you defend the use of the six counties and then call someone else “sectarian cunts”?”

    What’s sectarian about saying “six counties”?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Beano

    “Oh btw – do UTV not cover GAA matches?”

    No.

    “I’m sure I noticed more than 3 a year.”

    You’re mistaken.

  • RG Cuan

    The BBC did probably lose out in the tv bidding war but radio coverage is an issue that can easily be rectified.

    Another area where BBC NI severely fall short is their provision for the Irish-language community. If programming was based on language capability, 10% of its output should be in Irish.

    They provide substantial services for our Welsh and Scottish Gaelic friends, why not Irish Gaelic speakers?

  • Realist

    “The BBC did probably lose out in the tv bidding war”

    That’s that settled then.

    Time to get the Setanta subscriptions paid.

  • Bemused

    “And you defend the use of the six counties and then call someone else “sectarian cunts”? Catch yourself on.

    Posted by beano on Nov 14, 2007 @ 06:05 PM”

    Lead contender for ‘you couldn’t make it up – 2007’. As Billy said – what on earth is sectarian about saying ‘the six counties’?

  • ulsterfan

    When was the last time BBC televised Ulster rugby?
    I cant remember it must have been so long ago.
    The schools cup final is shown on St Patrick’s Day .
    I have to subscribe to Sky to see Heineken cup rugby and Setanta for Magners League.
    If BBC is to provide sponsorship for GAA I want my TV licence to show some Rugby.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “The BBC did probably lose out in the tv bidding war”

    Not so. The BBC DID have full TV rights for the Ulster Championship this year. They have had the rights for the last couple of years and I believe they have the rights for next year too.

    There were nine matches in this year’s Ulster Championship. BBCNI had the rights to all of them but CHOSE to televise just two.

    Prelim Round Cavan v Down at Breffni Park
    Att 13,5000
    NOT BROADCAST

    Prelim Replay Down 0-15 v 0-11 Cavan at Newry
    Att >15,000 (* capacity)
    NOT BROADCAST

    QF Fermanagh v Tyrone at Clones
    Att >15,000
    NOT BROADCAST

    QF Donegal v Armagh at Ballybofey
    Att 17,000 (* capacity)
    NOT BROADCAST

    QF Antrim v Derry at Casement Park
    Att ????
    NOT BROADCAST

    QF Monaghan v Down at Newry
    Att >15,000 (* Capacity)
    NOT BROADCAST

    SF Tyrone v Donegal at Clones
    Att 22,000
    NOT BROADCAST

    SF Derry v Monaghan at Casement Park
    Att <20,000
    BROADCAST

    Final Tyrone v Monaghan at Clones
    Att 35,000. Live coverage.
    BROADCAST

    Yet they have shown only two games per year in recent years?

    It could be argued that they should be showing EVERY championship game, given the level of interest.

  • Dec

    May I just add however that the BBC’s ‘coverage’ of the Irish League and local football is appalling.

    As Heaney’s article demonstrates, BBC Ulster gives ample coverage to local football. Sky has televised rights to the Irish league and will broadcast 4 matches this year. I’m pretty sure the BBC shows the Irish cup final live and highlights packages of other finals.

    If BBC is to provide sponsorship for GAA I want my TV licence to show some Rugby.

    Again, Setanta owns the TV rights to the Magners League and Sky to the Heineken Cup. The BBC does provide live radio commentary on Ulster games.

    All of which brings us back to the original point.

  • The Oul Fella

    Heaney’s article is pretty measured – all he seems to be asking for is that Radio Ulster use some of its resources to fill out the Gaelic season by covering well-attended County finals. There’s no mopery about it n there should be no mopery on here. Anyone interested in changing the situation should contact the hapless Mr Glynn and the others mentioned by Heaney to make sure 2008 is better than 2007.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ulsterfan

    “If BBC is to provide sponsorship for GAA I want my TV licence to show some Rugby.”

    Wha? Who said anything about sponsorship?

    But it’s a fair point – Ulster draws 11 or 12,000 to Ravenhill every Friday night. More games should be televised. But at least rugby gets a fair crack of the whip re. radio. There’d be something wrong if they wouldn’t even send along a reporter to a big Ulster match at Ravenhill, let alone do a live radio broadcast, wouldn’t there?

    Yet the recent county finals (six in NI, nine overall in Ulster – the Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal finals also being of huge interest and direct relevance to an NI audience) all drew the kind of crowds you’d see at Ravenhill on a Friday night, yet BBC didn’t even send along a reporter to any of them to provide updates – let alone provide live commentary.

    Clearly something wrong there.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why not go one step further and have increased GAA radio coverage, in Irish?!

  • The Beagle

    Another area where BBC NI severely fall short is their provision for the Irish-language community.

    RG Cuan – you *have* heard of Blas that goes out daily at 7pm on Radio Ulster? And the other Irish language programmes in the schedule?? If not, I suggest you get an Radio Times!!

    And in my view there’s more than enough Irish language provision!!

    Now Egyptian Coptic, that’s an area that’s totally neglected, as is Latin… 😉

  • Nevin

    “If programming was based on language capability, 10% of its output should be in Irish.”

    Perhaps the output is based on folks inclination to use the language, RGC; maybe the percentage output on Radio Ulster is currently higher than the percentage inclination to use.

  • WindsorRocker

    Can’t believe some of the stuff on here.

    Just because the BBC were lacking in their radio coverage on a sunday afternoon, is not a justification for saying football and rugby are better catered for in Broadcasting House. The bigger picture couldn’t be further from the truth.

    AFAIK, the BBC only had the rights to screen a small number of live county games in the last few years. The Ulster final and maybe a semi…. RTE scooped the lion’s share.

    GAA gets a significant share of the TV sports news pie and TV coverage of whatever hue is what markets a game to the general public as imo, radio is for those who want to make an effort to find out the scores etc. Look at Solitude at the end of September, Cville had double their normal attendance against Linfield simply because of the hype that the TV cameras brought with it….

    Personally, I think the lack of coverage on a Sunday was probably determined by the fact that one day in the week had to lose out, not one sport. Lazy, I agree, but no great conspiracy.

  • Outsider

    Its seems that all that BBC NI can broadcast is Gaelic and now its broadcasting the fact the its not broadcasting enough Gaelic, pathetic.

    The real elephant in the room is the complete lack of programmes dedicated to Orangeism. What did we have last this year, one 26 minute highlights programme on the twelfth, one hours live coverage of the Belfast twelfth and a documentary on the Boyne, completely inadequate.

    Whilst I do agree that Gaelic should get coverage on BBC it should be balanced with coverage of Orangeism. There is no point in Nationalists commentators indicating that the BBC show Ulster matches etc, this is not our culture Orangeism is lets have some parity.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    WR

    “Just because the BBC were lacking in their radio coverage on a sunday afternoon, is not a justification for saying football and rugby are better catered for in Broadcasting House.”

    But almost all Gaelic football is played on a Sunday afternoon! If BBC decide that Sunday is to be a sport-free day, then the GAA gets shafted!

    “GAA gets a significant share of the TV sports news pie…”

    Local soccer gets a very good round-up on Saturday afternoons. Furthermore, a reporter is despatched to every IPL game as a matter of course, and gives regular radio updates throughout the afternoon. Fair enough, this is good and laudible, and good luck to the soccer lads. I’m glad they have this coverage and I wouldn’t begrudge them it.

    But there’s nothing equivalent on a Sunday, GAA’s big day, even though the numbers coming through the turnstiles on a Sunday are far greater.

    “Personally, I think the lack of coverage on a Sunday was probably determined by the fact that one day in the week had to lose out, not one sport.”

    That simply doesn’t make sense – “one day has to lose out”. Why must one day lose out? And if indeed one day must lose out, what’s the justification for choosing Sunday?

    Outsider

    What would you like to see BBCNI show, re Orangeism? You’d have to admit that, by virtue of being a sporting organisation with a spectacular product and a demonstrable audience (packing the stands and terraces), the GAA has a clear televisual appeal?

    You’re comparing fenians with Oranges, I think….

  • Donnacha

    “AFAIK, the BBC only had the rights to screen a small number of live county games in the last few years. The Ulster final and maybe a semi…. RTE scooped the lion’s share.”

    Ah but the nub of the question in the initial post is about RADIO coverage, not TV coverage. And as for the request for more programmes about Orangeism, I wasn’t aware that the OO was a sporting body. You mean all those marches are actually really slow, musical marathons?

  • neill armstrong

    Billy im sorry the BBC doesnt send a reporter to every IL game most of the reporters are sport journalists from local papers.

  • Dec

    Billy im sorry the BBC doesnt send a reporter to every IL game most of the reporters are sport journalists from local papers.

    Truly epic hair-splitting.

  • gewurztraminer

    A number of points here. I’ll nail my colours to the mast: I am a rugby playing and supporting sassanach, living “here” for 20 odd years with a keen interest in Gaelic games. I genuinely have no strong view on the national question and am of the minority faith. Incidentally I despise local soccer with a vengeance.

    Coverage of gaelic sports has increased massively since I’ve been here. In all media – local and regional newspapers included. You used to have the Irish News, nationalist locals and “The Irish Game” on channel 4 to supplement the RTE coverage if living in the rught area. Now coverage is widespread. That said I don’t believe the level of interest reflects the level of support or interest.

    Driving back from Donegal last week my 6 year old daughter asked about the blue and white flags on the approach to Omagh. I found out afterwards that they were Dromore flags flying for the Ulster Club champioship quarter final. Of an event of this size and scale thsi is something that the average Joe sports fan should have been fully aware. I wasn’t.

    There should be greater coverage of top level club football; in a similar way to there should be greater coverage of club rugby.

    Comparing local soccer to local gaelic sports is slightly misleading (or rugby for that matter). The comparison should be rugby (including UK and Irish national coverage), soccer (including UK and Irish national coverage) to gaelic games (including Irish national coverage).

    It would be interesting to compare who comes out best and worst.

    As an aside, RGC, if programming was based on language capability, using your agrument, would it not be 100% English?

    The real queation is though – what about hurling and hockey?

  • RG Cuan

    THE BEAGLE

    Yes, I have heard Blas and it’s good. But it’s only 30 mins – how can the whole scope of Irish language life in the north be covered in just one half-hour slot?

    NEVIN

    maybe the percentage output on Radio Ulster is currently higher than the percentage inclination to use

    Far from it! At least as much Gaelic is spoken here on a daily basis as is spoken in Scotland yet there is an entire radio station devoted to Scottish Gaels.

  • iluvni

    The BBC shouldnt be spending any resources on a sport whose membership is from only one side of the community and those who do cross the divide and partake are forced out due to sectarian abuse?

    Let the GAA clean up its act and demonstrate how it intends its codes becoming ‘sport for all’ before it cries about lack of coverage.

  • The Truth

    If you got off your knees and stopped getting an erection at all things english and had some self respect about being from Ulster then you wouldn’t feel the need to give out about the GAA. Have some dignity and get off your knees before the englishman rides you to hell, you colonial slave.

  • “At least as much Gaelic is spoken here on a daily basis as is spoken in Scotland”

    Really? Unless by “here” you mean Ireland as a whole (which is beyond the BBC’s remit) that’s a very bold assertion.

    Oh and just for the record, the idea of splitting Radio Ulster and having the current schedule on FM and GAA on MW seems like a reasonable enough suggestion. Not of particular interest to me but it’s hard to see how too many people would be losing out on anything.

  • nmc

    iluvni,

    it’s the license fee paying fans that are complaining ofth elack of coverage. It’s a simple thing, we pay the piper so much, we get to call so much of the tune.

  • Nevin

    “and am of the minority faith.”

    You’re a Free Presbyterian?

  • RG Cuan

    Really? Unless by “here” you mean Ireland as a whole (which is beyond the BBC’s remit) that’s a very bold assertion.

    According to the latest census there are 58,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland. In NI there are 167,000. Of course these figures are far from accurate but they do reflect the vibrancy of the language in both areas.

    Scotland has more native speakers but the strength of Gaelic here (in the north) is on the whole much greater than that across Sruth na Maoile. Here there is a daily newspaper, radio station, magazines, Irish language businesses, regular campaigns etc. Apart from BBC Alba, our Scottish friends are struggling.

    To take just one example – 3,500 children attend Irish Gaelic medium education in NI. In the whole of Scotland, there are only 3,000 attending Gaelic medium schools.

  • willowfield

    According to the latest census there are 58,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland. In NI there are 167,000. Of course these figures are far from accurate but they do reflect the vibrancy of the language in both areas.

    Come on! That figure for Gaelic-speakers in Scotland represents a community who speak the language as their first language.

    The figure in NI represents a hodge-podge of people who claim to be able to speak it – in no way are there as many actual speakers of Gaelic in NI than in Scotland. Being able to speak it (or claiming to be able to do so) is not the same as actually speaking it naturally on a daily basis.

  • willowfield

    On a visit to communities in the Western Isles you will naturally come across Gaelic-speakers.

    There’s nowhere in NI you’ll go and experience the same natural use of the language. (The “Culturlann” doesn’t count!)

  • RG Cuan

    WILLOWFIELD

    I’ve spent a lot of time in the Western Isles and know how much Gaelic is spoken there. The Outer Hebridies are Scotland’s Gaeltacht but that does not mean that people do not speak the language ‘naturally’ outside traditional Gaeltacht areas.

    I agree that the figure for Scottish Gaelic speakers equates to this traditional Gaelic-speaking population but that does not mean that the language is used by all on a daily basis. In fact this assumption is far from the truth.

    If you are anyway familiar with the Gaelic-speaking community in Scotland you would know that they are at least 15 years behind Gaelic speakers in Ireland in terms of vitality.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    You missed the telling statistic in RG Cuan’s post.

    “To take just one example – 3,500 children attend Irish Gaelic medium education in NI. In the whole of Scotland, there are only 3,000 attending Gaelic medium schools.”

  • Outsider

    What would you like to see BBCNI show, re Orangeism? You’d have to admit that, by virtue of being a sporting organisation with a spectacular product and a demonstrable audience (packing the stands and terraces), the GAA has a clear televisual appeal?

    You’re comparing fenians with Oranges, I think….

    Billy Pilgrim

    There are quite a few things I would like the BBC to do regarding Orangeism first of all it could give some coverage to the twelfth of August and last Saturday parades. The twelfth of July’s 26 minute bulletin could be extended to an hour and cover all the twelfth demonstrations. Some more documentaries could be broadcast about Orangeism like the excellent one I posted on here regarding the OO in Scotland.

    I do agree that Gaelic has a big following and almost every Catholic in NI follows it but since NI has around 100,000 Orangemen, and there were around 1 million in attendance at all the twelfth of July events there is certainly an audience for Orange programmes as well, we pay our licence fees as too you know.

  • Dewi

    Off topic but on sporting theme:

    Sammy – did you see Ray Gravelle’s funeral on the box ? Astonishing – must have been 10,000 people there. Rhodri Morgan, Dafydd Iwan, Hywel Teifi Edwards and Gerald Davies spoke – singing unbelievable and the scoreboard at Strade (where the funeral was held) said:

    Llanelli 9
    Seland Newydd 3

    Heartbreaking afternoon – but we should make the bloke who organised it the next Welsh coach.

  • Séamaí

    The point about Gaelic medium education is a very valid one indeed. That’s were the future is. Scottish Gaels are lagging behind but they’re getting there.

    Outsider

    there were around 1 million in attendance at all the twelfth of July events

    Come on! The population of the north is only 1.7 million. Maybe there was 1 million at Orange events over a 5 year period!

  • Dewi

    http://www.bord-na-gaidhlig.org.uk/national-plan-for-gaelic.html

    Looks like a good plan – I just wonder if it’s in time.

  • George

    Those school figures are really interesting. I always thought that Scots Gaelic was much stronger.

    There are 33,000 children being educated in Irish language schools outside the Irish speaking Gaeltacht areas in the Republic.

  • Dewi

    George – it will require a huge effort to re -inviogorate. It seems that the goodwill is there and a strategy.

    In the South I reckon you need a bit of a revolution to get the language heard and seen. Legislation enforcing bilingualism on the private sector would be a start.

  • George

    Dewi,
    I agree totally apart from the enforcement bit. Not yet anyway.

    There certainly does seem to be something afoot so hopefully this linguistic flourishing (rather than revolution) continues apace.

    The goodwill is there which hopefully means the gaelscoileanna get the level of support they require in the coming years to meet the demand.

    I think that’s the secret and it will be interesting to see if the new curriculum, which is totally skewed towards being able to converse proficiently in the language, has an effect.

    If we could get up to 20% of the English speaking area population educated through Irish (it’s 5% at present) we might reach the critical mass where the language comes out of the homes, schools and clubs and into the “mainstream”.

  • Dewi

    George – maybe and maybe not – but why on God’s earth should Cornflake Packet packaging not have to be in Irish ?…in Ireland ???

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    difficult to think of a figure in Ireland that has same range of appeal as Ray Gravelle. Funeral was really sad but illustrated all that is good about Welsh culture the language, the singing and the pivotal role of rugby as the National sport.

  • Dewi

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7096308.stm

    And poetry Sammy – interesting blog from Betsan Powys on the funeral.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/betsanpowys/

    It really was a moving celebration. Hywel Teifi told the old joke about Edward the First’s soldiers being challenged by a Welsh Warrior in Snowdonia – he first takes on ten, then fifty and beats them. When Edward sends a hundred to fight him one returns mortally wounded and croaks with his dying breath:

    “My King don’t send any more it’s a trap – there’s two of them…”

    We could do with two Ray Gravelles today….

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    to introduce a negative note, in Cardiff, outside of the (considerable number) of Welsh speakers not sure if what Ray Gravelle represented it really appreciated. Having seem the abuse heaped on Gareth Jenkins – and that was before the world cup – on the GwladRugby internet site by some posters simply because he was from Llanelli was real eye opener for me.

    One of the reasons I both liked Gareth Jenkins and was agianst his sacking because he appeared to following in that LLanelli tradition of achievement coupled with genuine modesty.

    On a further note having written off the Irish provinces and assumed that the Welsh regions were going to do extremely well this year – I have now reversed each of those conclusions after the 1st round of Heineken cup matches. Ulster of course being the exception which I really hope the same Gareth Jenkins will put right if given the chance.

    Nos da.

  • Dewi

    Nos Da Sammy – absolutely crucial weekend this one.

  • George

    Dewi,
    if it makes commercial sense, then the Irish language will start making an appearance.

    For example, have you seen the latest Carlsberg ad on Irish TV, which uses the Irish language, albeit in a taking the piss of our limited ability to speak it kind of way.

  • Dewi

    “If it makes commercial sense, then the Irish language will start making an appearance.”

    That’s the trouble George – if we rely on commercial sense there is no chance.

    Haven’t seen the adver but every little thing helps.

  • I’m coming very late to all this. Billy Pilgrim and Hogan make fair points about coverage of GAA, and I don’t see why the minimal cost of covering county finals on radio should be a problem, especially given the bitter club rivalries and long traditions that make club level GAA great drama even for a neutral.

    Where I disagree is with this fantasy world assessment of the coverage of local rugby. Setanta have all the rights to Celtic League matches for a start. Fair enough, we get radio coverage (whoop de doo) of Heineken cup matches; but remember Ravenhill is regularly sold out for Heiny matches and could probably sell out more than twice over for them. GAA is not the only sport enjoying a boom in popularity in Ireland at the moment.

    Oh, and your granny listens to Walter Love. In England, BBC local radio has been directed to ditch the Walter Loves of this world, make no effort to provide radio for over-50s, and chase a mythical trendy middle-aged, middle-class, couple who are already perfectly well provided for by independent radio.

    Treasure Walter Love. His programme may be keek, but many people who have no other radio provided for them love Love.

  • almost every Catholic in NI follows it

    That’s right, the same way they all take instructions from their priest on how to fill in social security forms and plot how to steal and forcilbly convert Protestant babies at secret meetings in graveyards in the dead of night.

  • Nevin

    “To take just one example – 3,500 children attend Irish Gaelic medium education in NI”

    Does compulsion count, RGC? I’m thinking of the language being used in conversation as the language of choice.

  • RG Cuan

    Complusion? What compulsion?

    I’m also thinking of the language being used in conversation as the language of choice.

  • Dec

    Fair enough, we get radio coverage (whoop de doo) of Heineken cup matches; but remember Ravenhill is regularly sold out for Heiny matches and could probably sell out more than twice over for them.

    Sky Sports owns the TV rights to the Heineken Cup.

  • eranu

    “almost every Catholic in NI follows it

    That’s right, the same way they all take instructions from their priest on how to fill in social security forms and plot how to steal and forcilbly convert Protestant babies at secret meetings in graveyards in the dead of night.”

    i bloody knew it !!! 🙂

    im surprised anyones bothered about ‘listening’ to a sporting match on the radio. whats the point of listening to someone say things like. “so and so passes to so and so, he shoots, he scores, goal !!!!” whats the point when you cant actually see whats happening !

    theres plenty of coverage of GAA games from the southern tv and radio stations. why are people wanting another station to cover games? is 24/7 GAA games across all media what they want?? it seems to me theres more than enough of it around to keep people happy. demanding more is a bit much. there are plenty of other sports and events that would love a bit of air time. could it be that BBC radio know that theres loads of GAA coverage around and have decided to provide a bit of variety?

  • Séamaí

    could it be that BBC radio know that theres loads of GAA coverage around and have decided to provide a bit of variety?

    No. The BBC is a public service broadcaster and should provide for its licence payers – soccer fans, rugby fans and Gaelic fans, Irish and English speakers.

    Many GAA/CLG competitions in Ulster aren’t covered at all.

  • eranu

    yeah, its a public service broadcaster. but theres alot more than GAA and sport in general around you know. by all means ask for coverage, just like other sports and groups. but to make demands and the general tone seems to be a bit like barging to the front of the queue and elbowing other sports and other types of programme out of the way. just seems a bit much to me.

  • Dec

    but to make demands and the general tone seems to be a bit like barging to the front of the queue and elbowing other sports and other types of programme out of the way. just seems a bit much to me

    What on earth are you talking about?

  • Reader

    Séamaí: The BBC is a public service broadcaster and should provide for its licence payers – soccer fans, rugby fans and Gaelic fans, Irish and English speakers.
    OK then, a plan: Provide good GAA radio coverage, in Irish. That ticks the boxes without colouring in the whole damned Venn diagram.

  • RG Cuan

    Provide good GAA radio coverage, in Irish.

    Sounds like a good idea to me! Maybe bilingual, i think most Gaelic speakers would be happy with that.

  • al

    George – maybe and maybe not – but why on God’s earth should Cornflake Packet packaging not have to be in Irish ?…in Ireland ???

    Might be because about 95%+ of the population are native english speakers…just a stab in the dark with that one. Good job sticking it in irish, a language which is spoken and understood by a small minority.

  • eranu

    dec, i mean it just seems that ‘demanding’ the BBC provide lots of GAA coverage is a bit much. the tone seems to be ‘you must do what we want’ like its some great wrong not to do it. im sure theres plenty of sports and events that would like radio coverage but they’re not trying to portray it as some great injustice if they dont get a programme. thats all.
    personally im not a radio listener, but i know that if i want a break from music in the car and flick around the stations, id rather listen to an interesting talk programme than sports coverage. interesting talk on the radio is pretty hard to find! theres plenty of GAA and sport on other stations.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Eranu

    “im surprised anyones bothered about ‘listening’ to a sporting match on the radio.”

    Clearly you’ve never listened to Michéal O Muircheartaigh commentating on a game? I would not flinch from declaring, without fear of contradiction, that Michéal is without rival the greatest sports commentator on planet Earth. I’d rather listen to Michéal on radio than watch a game on TV, he’s that good.

    Of course the best thing is to watch the game on TV with the sound turned down, and listen to O Muircheartaigh’s commentary. He makes even the dullest game sound like a classic. His listeners are riveted even by games they have only a passing interest in. I, and generations of GAA fans, have cherished memories of Sunday afternoons spent in the company of the great man, as he recounts events in Clones or Thurles.

    “What’s the point when you cant actually see whats happening!”

    Check out the great man next time he’s on. RTE, Sunday afternoons. You’ll understand.

    As for the rest of your post: adequate radio coverage is NOT there. The recent county finals were not broadcast anywhere. Downtown, Citybeat, U105 etc don’t have any particular responsibilities to the public beyond those stipulated in their licenses. The BBC, however, DOES have responsibilities to those of us who pay the license fee.

    And as was said earlier, Radio Ulster has both FM and MW frequencies, and can split their broadcasts between the two. So there’s no need to get rid of Walter Love. Keep Walter on FM, so the grannies are looked after. But let the GAA fans get their fix on MW. (Or vice versa, it doesn’t really matter which.)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Eranu

    “I mean it just seems that ‘demanding’ the BBC provide lots of GAA coverage is a bit much.”

    Clearly the county finals are hugely popular and of great public interest. The same is true of the Ulster Club Championship games, of inter-county league games, of inter-county championship games etc. The cost of providing a radio broadcast would be minimal. With two bandwidths available, scheduling is not a problem. No existing programme has to be shelved in order to accommodate live broadcasts.

    So clearly license fee holders are entitled to ask why these games are not being covered. They’re also entitled to point out that the popularity of these games compares favorably with that of some games that DO receive coverage. However, everyone has been at pains to stress that this in no ways suggests that other sports should not also be properly catered-for. Good luck to soccer, rugby, motor sports and whomever else.

    But it’s fair to point out that we’re talking about the most popular spectator sport in NI, and that it receives relatively scant coverage.

    “…the tone seems to be ‘you must do what we want’ like its some great wrong not to do it.”

    The question is, why on earth wouldn’t the BBC provide adequate coverage? What justification can there be for this ongoing neglect?

    “I’m sure theres plenty of sports and events that would like radio coverage but they’re not trying to portray it as some great injustice if they dont get a programme.”

    But do these other events command the sheer volume of public interest that GAA does? The point is that Gaelic football has THE MOST COMPELLING case for coverage of all sports, yet receives little.

    “there’s plenty of GAA and sport on other stations.”

    None of the county finals were broadcast anywhere. More than 100,000 people attended Ulster’s county finals this year – two or three each Sunday over the space of a few weeks. It would have been logical to broadcast these events – which are a HUGE deal within the counties – with perhaps live commentary from one game and regular updates from the others. TG4 broadcast the Armagh County Final on TV and I understand had huge viewing figures.

    Radio Ulster seem to have been unaware these games were going on. Well, perhaps it’s time the GAA fraternity let them know.

  • ulsterfan

    If 100,000 watch the County Finals there is no one left at home to listen.
    This must be the reason.
    Any way I want Billiards to be broadcast on radio in colour—-any chance?
    It would make great listening.

  • Nevin

    “Complusion? What compulsion?”

    The schools are selected by the parents, RGC. The children are unlikely to have had any say in the matter.

  • Outsider

    Come on! The population of the north is only 1.7 million. Maybe there was 1 million at Orange events over a 5 year period!

    Seamai

    What about the Orangemen/Bands and supporters that came from the mainland, America, Canada and the ROI etc? Statistics and figures released at this years events indicate that collectively there were over one million in attendance at the 12th demonstrations across NI.

    Not much coverage on Slugger regarding the death threats that four Orangemen have received.

  • RG Cuan

    NEVIN

    The schools are selected by the parents, RGC. The children are unlikely to have had any say in the matter.

    Now that must be one of the most ridiculous posts against non-English medium education i’ve ever heard.

    If you equate school selection with language compulsion you can of course say exactly the same about any school, English language, German, Spanish etc.

  • Nevin

    RGC, I made my point in the context of language of choice but you’ve wandered off into a different field entirely. Let me know when you return …. 🙂

  • RSR

    the way the recent cuts in the BBC are going, they’ll not even have the funds to cover irish league football and have already sold off the internationals to Sky

    think we’ll all have to settle to watch an england match or else fork out the money for sky and setanta

  • Dewi

    Nevin – do you think 4 year olds should have a vote ?

  • Nevin

    “Nevin – do you think 4 year olds should have a vote?”

    I thought you were more than 4, Dewi … or is Dewi just a ‘devius’ kind of guy, a bit of an old ‘santer’? 🙂

    In some homes, 4 year-olds might well dominate their parents!

    What’s the derivation of Nefyn? A holy mountain?

  • Dewi

    http://tinyurl.com/349fm4

    Professor Hywel Wyn Owen knows nothing – except he think’s it’s Oirish !!!