Broadcasting in the Irish language is in a state of crisis, according to a report published by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.
The committee, which is chaired by Independent Catherine Connolly, recommends a series of measure to address the issue, including:
- The reinforcing of the relevant sections in the Broadcasting Act
- The assigning of Irish language broadcasting as a specific duty within public service broadcasting
- The strengthening of the role of the regulator to assure that legislation is fully implemented
- The re-establishment of RTÉ's Irish Programmes Department (Rannóg na gClár Gaeilge) as a full-time unit, as promised by the organisation
- The restoration of a €6 million cut to TG4's funding during the economic downturn
- The improvement of subtitling services
- That RTÉ and TG4 co-produce material directed at language learning.
It also recommends that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland should establish an advisory committee on the Irish Language in broadcasting.
The report was compiled between January 2017 and December 2018.
During this period, the committee held a series of meetings with various stakeholders, including broadcasters, Irish language groups and academics, who were invited to share their opinions.
The committee referenced the recent annual report of An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, who was overtly critical of RTÉ's Irish language output.
In his report, he said that the national broadcaster had almost completely ceased broadcasting programmmes in Irish.
RTÉ, he said, was not fulfilling its legislative duties with regard to the language.
RTÉ said at the time that while the report found it is in breach of some of its linear television obligations, it is fulfilling its obligations in relation to Irish language news programmes and radio programmes.
It added that it is making innovative developments online and on digital platforms, which were not within the scope of the commissioner's report.