The Taoiseach has paid tribute to TG4 as the Irish language station celebrates its 25th birthday.

The channel, then known as Teilifís na Gaeilge, came on air on 31 October 1996.

Based in Baile na hAbhann, Co Galway, it was rebranded as TG4 in 1999.

In a statement, Micheál Martin said that "for the last quarter of a century, TG4 has performed a vital role in Irish society, and has established itself as a distinctive and unique voice on Ireland's media landscape."

The Fianna Fáil leader said the channel's "vibrant mix of local, national and international news and current affairs, entertainment, sport and culture" has resonated with TG4's audience.

He added that the Government "very much look forward to seeing TG4 go from strength to strength in the years ahead".

President Michael D Higgins, who was Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht when the channel launched in 1996, visited Conamara on Friday to commemorate the occasion.

He was accompanied by his wife Sabina, as well as the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and his wife Elke.

Mr Steinmeier was in Ireland as part of a three-day state visit to Ireland.

The two world leaders visited the set of Ros na Rún, the channel's popular soap opera which is set in a fictional village near An Spidéal.

During the visit President Higgins said that with over 100 languages being spoken in Ireland today he deeply appealed to all to make one great effort for the Irish language as it would not be a great achievement for anyone to say we cast the language aside.

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Speaking during the Presidential visit on Friday, the Cathaoirleach of the TG4 said that "TG4 has been a champion of Irish culture, creativity and talent" since it launched.

Siún Ní Raghallaigh added that: "2021 is an important milestone for TG4 as we celebrate our 25th year on air and look forward to continuing to invest in a vibrant, creative independent sector which ensures TG4 and the Irish language remain relevant and important part of Ireland's Public Service Media."