Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh has called for more Irish language news on RTÉ's television news programmes.

Speaking in Killarney, Mr McHugh said that regional reports from Gaeltacht areas which were originally filmed in Irish are then aired in English.

He proposed that RTÉ News broadcast the original report in Irish and include English sub-titles.

He said: "We have a situation - 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.

"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."

Mr McHugh said that there is an audience for such reports.

"It appeals to that child attending a gaelscoil 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," he said.

"I know RTÉ News Now broadcasts 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."

Mr McHugh also said that RTÉ has an "excellent" record for promoting Irish.

He said: "Every year during Seachtain Na Gaeilge - for a week or so - RTÉ includes lots of Irish initiatives 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."