TG4 for all in NI?

Hidden in the detail of a new report from Ofcom (communications regulator) is the news that Irish-language channel TG4 is to be broadcast on Freeview in NI.

“S4C, the Gaelic Digital Service (GDS), and TG4 will each be available on a PSB multiplex in, respectively, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland (subject to any other agreements or consents required); and Five will be available to 98.5% of the UK population via DTT.”

Though it’s not something I’d see confirmed before – and there’s no detail as to when it might happen (presumably before digital switchover in 2012) – it’s obviously in keeping with the plans laid out in the Good Friday Agreement.

TG4 is already available in the north, on analogue – but at a very low power. Indeed, there are even parts of Belfast where the channel can’t be picked up. On Freeview, coverage across the entire six counties will be guaranteed.

  • An Lochlannach

    That’s good news. It’ll be interesting to see the Scots Gaelic service as well. Currently I can see BBC Scotland’s Gaelic output on ‘Other Channels’ on Sky. Their documentaries, especially ‘Eorpa’, are excellent and often feature a quirky take on Irish politics, the Tara controversy, for example.

    ‘Word of Mouth’ on BBC Radio 4 has a debate on the politics of Gaelic broadcasting:

    It’s all very familiar to anyone who followed the founding of TnaG.

  • overehere

    I wonder is there any chance of getting it in this God forsaken town of London. I can get any amount of Indian etc channels but only BBC1 NI on cable

  • The other point of concern is the decision by DCAL, in cahoots with DFPNI, to get rid of the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund from March 2009. No provision has been made beyond that date in the budget, currently being consulted upon, for the fund which was going in the right direction towards putting native language film and tv production in NI on a par with the Republic, Wales and Scotland.

    This isn’t all the DUP’s fault – what do you expect when you put the fox in charge of the henhouse? Sinn Féin have been incredibly mute on this subject. They expect people to believe they’re in favour of an Irish Language Act in the north but when it comes to the practical things in place at present to aid the Irish language, they’re not being very protective or proactive.

  • What this means, effectively, is that as TG4 becomes more available in NI, there will be less programmes being produced in the north or about the north for TG4.

    Thanks Edwin.
    And thanks SF.

  • DK

    Why not rte as well? Or TV3 for that matter.

  • Aaron S

    Why not rte as well? Or TV3 for that matter.

    Well, that’s an interesting question. The Green Party in the Republic have a manifesto commitment to get the other RTE channels broadcast across all of Ireland. But obviously we’re not at the point were the UK government will be working towards that.

    The reality is that, post-digital switchover, people in parts of NI will still probably be able to pick up RTE the way they always have. But whether or not there will be a better all-Ireland solution is open to debate at this stage.

    Of course, if SF have their way, we’ll have a united Ireland before digital switchover is due to happen, haha (2012 is the planned date for switchover)

  • digital

    Interesting article from the Irish News 04/09/2007
    RTE has confirmed that its programmes will eventually be available to viewers in Northern Ireland through digital ‘freeview’ set top boxes.

    The Republic’s state broadcaster is trying to reach an agreement with British channels to allow northern viewers to watch southern programmes in time for the north’s planned digital switchover in 2012.

    The deal which will include digital radio broadcasts, would also give viewers in the Republic access to British channels.

    Minister for Communication Eamon Ryan said his department would encourage broadcasting companies to join the digital platform.

    “I believe it is very important to provide RTE to ex-patriots around the world,” he said.

    Earlier, Peter Armstrong of SDLP Youth said the Republic’s broadcasters should join the UK’s ‘freeview’ platform as soon as possible.

    “The majority of households in Northern Ireland now receive digital free-to-view television and radio, yet none of the southern broadcasters has applied to broadcast on the platform,” he said.

    RTE spokeswomen Bride Rosney confirmed that legislation had been passed in April 2007 that would enable Irish companies to join the free-to-view movement.

    “Since then, RTE has been attempting to reach an agreement that would allow viewers in the north to watch southern terrestrial channels, and those in the Republic to access British channels,” she said.

  • slug

    Certainly in the year or so since I switched to digital I have not watched RTE as I would have to go out of digital and revert to analogue. But the deal is complicated as allowing RTE in would encroach on UTV’s advertising.

  • gaelgannaire

    I have just gav my Freeview Box to my sister because it didn’t work with my t.v.


    You can listen to BBC Radio nan Gaidheal on sky, do many listen in and make the wee tiny effort to understand?

  • RG Cuan

    Ar dóigh! Cé gur drochscéal amach é faoin ILBF.

    It’ll be great having TG4 and our other Gaelic station (if it gets the complete go-ahead) on Freeview.

    I currently get TG4 and RTÉ on Virgin (formerly NTL), and i often listen to Radio nan Gaidheal, but mainly on the internet.

    Ar aghaidh linn!

  • gaelgannaire


    Cionnas tá tú?!

    Whats the story with the Scottish Gaelic digital channel?

    I understood that there had been cutbacks with Gaelic t.v. lately as the commercial companies were only intialy interested for licencing arrangements.

    Cad chuige a bhfeil muinne blagail, nach bhfeil go leor le deanamh againn go leir?

  • harry

    is there to going to be a tv station for ulster scots????

    “TV fa Dafty Weans” on freeview.

    “A wuz qwerly gunkt tae hear thon”

  • slug

    Hopefully this means that those who want gaelic Irish can watch it to their heart’s content on a dedicated TV and another dediated radio station. That makes more sense than the present arrangements.

  • gaelgannaire


    Very radical there, you think that the BBC should have a dedicated Irish channel, didnt expect that one!

  • slug

    I have stated that before gaelgannaire.

  • An Lochlannach

    Harry mentions the ‘wee dafty weans’ story, which is supposedly the Ulster Scots for ‘children with learning difficulties’. Does anyone know if this ever actually appeared in print or is it just an urban myth? I’ve heard variants on the same theme – ‘bastards’ for ‘children born out of wedlock’ and ‘gypos’ for travellers etc.

  • gaelgannaire


    I think the ‘wee dafties’ thing is a bit of both. I think that is has probably been uttered by someone somewhere and MAY have been used by an Ulster-Scots adherent but it is not ‘official Ullans’.

    I myself have a great interest in Ulster-Scots speech and have studied it to an extent, that is the reason that Ullans shocks me frankly.

    I have never heard the word ‘flursucker’ for example though I have hear ‘picture-bowx’ in speech, though never in a shop that sold televsision sets.

    RG Cuan,

    De ye hae thon link a yer man frae Ballymoney that put has ain oul sayins on tha internet?

    Thon’s nae much different frae English but it is tha real McCoy.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    It may interest you to know that we can get the 4 RTÉ channels on Freeview at the minute. Sometimes the EPRG is ‘populated’ and sometimes not. At all times it is possible to record programmes. E Tyrone area, by the way.

  • Rory

    This news will have the effect of sending the price of shares in aliminium foil soaring in anticipation of a dramatic increase in sales in “our wee Ulster” as those terrified at the prospect of their poor families minds being polluted by this invasion rush to line their homes with baking foil in an attempt to block these alien broadcasts.

    Get your bids in early!

  • RepublicanStones

    Oooolster-scots is great, hilarious, if a stand-up comedian was to do his routine in ooolster-scots he’d win the perrier award hands down !

  • lib2016

    “..he’d win the perrier award..”

    Nah! They saw the joke and made him a Lord Lord. 😉

  • joeCanuck

    Yeah, but it’s even funnier that some people never get the joke!

  • RG Cuan

    Dinnae hae thon link ae tha minute a Ghaeil Gan Náire.

    The latest on the Gaelic channel from Alba is that the BBC Trust is trying to hold things up even more…

    Chan eil iad róshásta mu dheidhin thall!

  • páid

    Ah, give Ulster Scots a break!

    Apparently a paedophile is a ‘wainworrier’.

    Very good, that.

  • Outsider


    Why do you need to know that word?

  • Suilven


    So what is paedophile in Irish, then?

    Remember to include a literal translation for us uninitiates, eh?

  • audley

    Paedophile in Irish is “Father Fiddly Fingers”!

  • al

    So what is paedophile in Irish, then?
    Posted by Suilven on Nov 22, 2007 @ 04:10 PM


  • Is there actually anything worth watching on the Southern channels beyond Podge and Rodge?

  • Suilven

    Pithy asides apart, I’m still waiting for some evidence that Gaelic vocab is any more up-to-date than Ulster-Scots. Any takers on the above challenge?

  • lib2016


    You’re right that Ulster-Scots and the people who study it have the right to demand respect from the rest of us. In would be a shame if we were all to agree, not to mention extremely unlikely. 😉

    It is the inflated claims made for Ulster-Scots and the sectarian tinge given to it which draw ridicule. I haven’t checked recently but at one point the official Ulster-Scots webpage (subsidised by all taxpayers)linked directly to the OO and several Orange organisations. Touchy subject for anybody trying to gain widespread acceptance.

  • Suilven

    ‘at one point the official Ulster-Scots webpage (subsidised by all taxpayers)linked directly to the OO and several Orange organisations.’

    Shock, horror – the BBC’s Blas website, paid for by all UK licence payers, contains only links to GAA sports. Touchy subject for anybody trying to gain widespread acceptance.

  • gaelgannaire


    The word used in Irish is péidifileach, it from the Greek as is the English form, it means horrifically in my view ‘lover of children’

  • lib2016

    Comparing the GAA to the OO? That really is silly. The GAA is the most popular and successful organisation on this island whereas the OO is……!

  • Suilven


    Thanks for replying. So as I suspected, the equivalent is a Gaelicisation of the loanword derived from Greek, à la telefis and telefon. No shame in that – most European languages have done similar, and I believe French has the strongest claim to the origin of the word “television”.

    Back to the point – while I’m still not entirely certain if Pàid was taking the rise or not, I quite like the etymology of the word “wainworrier”. It’s a little different, it conveys some of the menace absent in the literal meaning of the standard English term (as you mentioned) and there are obvious parallels to sheepworrying. And we all know what can happen to dogs that worry sheep…

  • Suilven

    Forgot to add – if this purported Scots word was widely adopted, paediatricians could worry less about ignorant mobs…

  • gaelgannaire


    I am sure that someone has used the word ‘wainworrier’, yes. But compare with ‘picture-box’, I have heard it, but somewhat in jest. Perhaps the word in question, which I am not going to discuss further as it disturbs me is used similarly as I think you have implied?

    All forms of Gaelic use Latin and Greek words as the basis of scientific vocab. I must investigate germanic languages to see what they do.

    But a hae tae gae tha now y’ill unnerstann.

  • Suilven


    No probs. TV is ‘fernsehen’ in German, so there are at least some differences.

  • I’m glad Sulliven mentioned the BBC as that’s another organisation which needs to come up to speed as far as the Irish language is concerned. Apparently the expenditure per Irish speaker in the north is £2 – compared to almost £40 per Welsh speaker and £30+ per Scots Gaelic speaker. I wouldn’t mind paying for a licence fee if I thought I was getting value for money, on a par with the speakers of other ‘British’ languages.

    I don’t mind the antics of the Ulster Scots crowd – but it’s a bit rich of unionists to turn around and claim that the Irish language has been politicised by SF when they’re doing much worse to the Ulster Scots language movement. What had funding a cd of Orange Order party songs – the Songs My Father Sung – to do with the Ulster Scots Language? Nothing at all….so why did the Ulster Scots Agency, in cahoots with Grand Orange Lodge – fund it?

    As for TG4 being available in NI. I’m all for it – but it won’t be worth damn all if Edwin Poots, in his perverted effort to achieve language equality between Irish and Ulster Scots, succeeds in dismantling the Irish Language Broadcast Fund. Given that this fund recently funded the excellent Kings, the Oscar nominated bilingual feature film, it would seem like an exceptionally short sighted decision from a minister whose short sightedness cannot be over estimated.

  • Just one question – what channels are we going to lose/miss out on to make room for TG4 and, if they get on, RTE etc.

    As far as I’m concerned TG4 will just be taking up space, but RTE could actually be a good thing if they take over one of the dopey channels like Gems TV or something.

  • IJP

    Strongly in favour of widespread availability of TG4, and indeed of a continued Irish Language Broadcast Fund.

    Unlike a divisive “rights-based Act” or a geographic-centric “Quarter”, broadcasting is a means of attaining maximum accessibility to the language for those who want it, wherever they live, without irritating those who don’t (except those prepared to go to ludicrous extremes). It’s also a good way of promoting the creative industries in a particular area.

  • The problem with that Beano is that the only reason TG4 is being provided is as a result of the commitments in the Good Friday Agreement. RTÉ are piggybacking on the back of that – but legally and otherwise, it’s TG4 which is the first priority.

    If you ask me what channel should be dumped to make way for TG4 and RTE, it’s simple. BBC 1 NI and BBC 2 NI and UTV.

  • RepublicanStones

    suilven your only highlighting your own bigotry toward the religion of your ancestors, Catholicism, with that cheap paedophile remark. sure i could ask what is paedophile in oooolster-scots?
    kincora, perhaps.

  • Aaron S


    Just one question – what channels are we going to lose/miss out on to make room for TG4 and, if they get on, RTE etc.

    For TG4, you’re talking about losing one commercial service from Freeview. That’s stated in the Ofcom document. It’ll be the same service that they lose in Scotland and Wales.

    Lord knows what it’ll be, but, for comparison, currently in Wales the shopping channels QVC and Bid-Up TV have reduced hours, compared to the rest of the UK.

    Though I suspect that by 2012 the shopping channels will all have been forced off Freeview, with their bandwidth bought up by proper channels.

    With RTE 1/RTE 2/TV3 – if we ever get to the point where they are broadcast officially in NI (as opposed to via an overspill from RoI), then I think we’ll see the introduction of a 7th multiplex in NI, with the rest of the UK limited to 6. The government is keen to keep Freeview to 6 multiplexs so it can sell off spare spectrum. But they won’t be able to do that in NI anyway, unless the RoI adopts the same policies. I think.

  • Suilven

    Bother to at least read the thread before starting with more of your crap, RepublicanStones.

  • RepublicanStones

    i apologise suilven, my last post should be directed at al and audley.

  • IJP

    OILibhear Chromaill

    We’re all very good on insisting on technicalities when they go our way, and ignoring them when we don’t.

    I’m consistent in ignoring them all the time.

    I don’t want TG4 in the North because it’s in some document, I want it because it’s a good idea.

  • You don’t get it IJP – it’s the bloody document because it’s a good idea.

    I didn’t think the Alliance was so ambivalent towards the implementation of the GFA?

    What’s your position about the ending of the ILBF? After all that will mean that there’ll be precious little about NI or from NI on TG4 come 2009, thanks to the DUP/SF alliance.

  • “it’s the bloody document because it’s a good idea. “
    That’s terribly naive. In fact I’m not sure there was very much in the agreement at all that was a “good idea”.

    “Lord knows what it’ll be, but, for comparison, currently in Wales the shopping channels QVC and Bid-Up TV have reduced hours, compared to the rest of the UK.”


    “If you ask me what channel should be dumped to make way for TG4 and RTE, it’s simple. BBC 1 NI and BBC 2 NI and UTV.”

    LMAO – No deal!

  • Tell me what LMAO means….

    One of the gems in the GFA was the availability of TG4 because it was so easy to sort out – on paper. When it came down to it, northern broadcasters began objecting for a number of reasons, but now it’s sorted. I don’t see what your problem is with TG4 being made available on Freeview – are you seriously trying to keep a shopping channel in preference?

    I have to say that I slightly resent the use of Freeview to impose on the rest of these islands a rather narrow British view of the world – it’s not just available in the UK you know. So the inclusion of TG4 is a measure in the other direction and, therefore, is welcome.

  • barnshee

    ” So the inclusion of TG4 is a measure in the other direction and, therefore, is welcome”

    I already get it on analogue it not bad. I wish they would boost the number of old westerns I jest lerve the joel Mcray audie murphy randolph scott etc movies. I just wish they would junk that other garbage between the westerns

  • Suilven

    ‘I have to say that I slightly resent the use of Freeview to impose on the rest of these islands a rather narrow British view of the world – it’s not just available in the UK you know. So the inclusion of TG4 is a measure in the other direction and, therefore, is welcome.’

    So the Republic hasn’t got its finger out re digital broadcasting yet, people are watching UK signals instead and you’re complaining it’s got a British bias? Jesus wept.

  • Alan Anderson

    TG4 provides bi lingual programming, both in the Irish and English languages, for those who the Irish language does not appeal to TG4 carries several highly acclaimed US dramas on a nightly basis:
    Curb your Enthusiasm(my personal fave)
    Nip tuck(before sky latched on)
    Invasion(before sky latched on)
    Without a trace(before sky latched on)

    not to mention a live feed with France 24 after 2am,

    In the Irish Language TG4 has had many programmes on:
    Socár Beo(live soccer)
    Rugbaí Beo(live Rugby)
    Rugby Gold (legend games from the ameteur age)
    Auzzie rules
    Faisean Paisean
    Rós Na Rún
    Soisceal Padraig
    Orange-Protestant culture
    origins of repulicanisim(not provos)
    Documentaries on such luminaries as Craig, Carson, Dev, Collins, Markewzich , british and Irish Tisigh.
    When we miss TG4 were missing out big time

    “suil eille”

  • “I don’t see what your problem is with TG4 being made available on Freeview – are you seriously trying to keep a shopping channel in preference?”

    Did you read what I said? “Deal” in response to dumping or reducing the hours of shopping channels in exchange for TG4, not because I’d watch it but because it’ll be taking up space from (a) channel(s) that’s on the “skip” list on my EPG anyway.

    “No deal” to your suggestion of dumping BBC and UTV for TG4 and RTE (although UTV wouldn’t be a huge loss, but it’s marginally better than RTE).

    Suilven’s right though, you can’t blame Freeview for the Republic (and RTE) sitting with their fingers up their arses instead of getting some kind of DTT offering together.

    PS LMAO = Laugh My Arse Off and was directed at your suggestion of dumping BBC/UTV.

  • You’re hilarious Beano. I see where you’re coming from but don’t agree with you, that’s all. I don’t blame Freeview for the republic not having gone digital – though Sky seems to be all over the shop so I don’t see what you’re getting at. What I said was I resent slightly the fact that the BBC feels it’s ok to impose itself on us through freeview and, more than slightly, that it has resisted until now allowing TG4 onto that epg. Given the fact that TG4 – and I don’t care a tinker’s fart for RTÉ 1/2 – is mentioned in the GFA, I think it illustrates the BBC is not fully signed up to the ‘shared future’ just yet.

  • I still don’t get what your issue is with the BBC “imposing itself” on us? Who’s us? The Republic?

  • Suilven

    Ever heard of looking a gift horse in the mouth, OILibhear?

  • RG Cuan

    More choice, in any language, is obviously a good thing. Fáilte mhór a TG4!


    I’m still waiting for some evidence that Gaelic vocab is any more up-to-date than Ulster-Scots

    I take it that this is a joke, but if not:
    Irish Gaelic has an official terminology committee, varied and proper dictionaries, online vocab. databases and genuine speakers.
    Ulster Scots does not.

  • Alan Anderson

    The Irish language has no need to defend itself, I baulk at those who try, our language is our language and yes it may not be the predominant language on the Island, but so what, does that invalidate it, by no means. Neither would I attempt to invalidate Ulster Scots- Ulster Irish or Munster Irish, all are valid, and regardless of political persuasion they all make up the complex tapestry of irish society.

    To ignore one or all is to be ignorant of Irelands history, and foolish with Irelands future.

    But to be honest I do watch TG4 more than any other channel, but that has much to do with my liking for US drams a season or two ahead of the numpties paying £20 a month for crappie sky.