The government has opened a public consultation on the designation of sporting and other events on a free-to-air basis.

Events that are designated as being of major importance to society are broadcast, as a matter of public interest, on free-to-air broadcasters - RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4.

The All-Ireland senior football and hurling finals, the Summer Olympics, the Republic of Ireland's qualifying and tournament games and the Rugby World Cup are among the events currently designated.

The consultation will give stakeholders a chance to have their say on the current list, and whether any events should be considered for addition to, or removal from, it. 

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin said: "It is important that national events which are of great importance to Ireland be shown free to air for us all to enjoy.

"Sporting or other events of national importance support social cohesion and create a sense of community, encouraging participation in the event itself and creating a sense of national pride.

"Having events of national importance behind a pay wall restricts those who are not in a financial position to subscribe from participating and unfairly excludes those without access through a paywall to the events from engaging with the events on an equivalent basis."