UTV Ireland, UTV and the border question

Sometimes you scroll along your Twitter feed and find a small piece of information that just grabs your eye. Today was one of those days as I saw on UTV Ireland’s twitter feed the response that viewers in Northern Ireland would not be able to recieve programming from the new channel.

This tweet caused a bit of a stir on Twitter with some folks protesting that the new channel would not be available in Northern Ireland. So, providing the essential public service that we do on Slugger, I contacted UTV to recieve some clarity on the issue.

I asked will no UTV Ireland programming be available at all in Northern Ireland?

UTV told me that UTV Ireland is for viewers in the Republic of Ireland, whilst the UTV we have at the moment is for Northern Ireland. There will be some cross over in programming with programmes like Rare Breed and Lesser Spotted Journey’s being showcased on both channels.

How about people on Saorview/freeview?

If you have Soarview you will indeed get UTV Ireland, if you have a high end freeview box you might be to recieve UTV Ireland but the station told me that this is “overspill, not a target audience.”

But, what about the future, will we see UTV Ireland made more widely available to viewers in Northern Ireland?

The answer is a no, as the channel intends to provide UTV Ireland for the South and keep UTV for the North.

Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion from the day, but if you are punting for UTV Ireland on most sets then this will be a disappointment.

But hey at least it’s another item to add to the Nationlist list of things to unify in a united Ireland.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs