RTÉ reviewing competition entry ban for northern viewers as Late Late Show returns

Patrick Kielty is presenting his first Late Late Show on RTÉ One on Friday night.
Patrick Kielty is presenting his first Late Late Show on RTÉ One on Friday night.

RTÉ has said it is reviewing its ban on northern viewers and listeners from entering its competitions.

The review comes ahead of the new season of The Late Late Show beginning on Friday with Co Down comedian Patrick Kielty as the flagship show's new host, replacing Ryan Tubridy.

RTÉ has blocked entries to competitions on its TV and radio programmes, along with its website, since 2019.

The move followed legal advice relating to the north's gambling laws. The ban remained in place despite Stormont's Department for Communities saying the previous laws should not prevent entries from north of the border.

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However, following new legislation coming into effect in the north last year, the ban is being reviewed by RTÉ.

"RTÉ confirms it will review the position in respect of premium line competitions and their accessibility in Northern Ireland taking account of the provisions of the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022," a spokesperson said.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said he has written to RTÉ's director-general to demand the ban is lifted 

“There is great excitement and anticipation across the north as one of our own, Patrick Kielty, is set to take the helm of one of Irish television’s most iconic institutions," the Newry and Armagh MLA said.

“It’s farcical that we are now facing a situation where a northerner will now be fronting the programme, while his family and friends sit at home watching, unable to enter the very competitions he is promoting on his debut show. This is not solely a Late Late Show issue, as viewers here are prevented from entering competitions on GAA programmes like The Sunday Game, even when northern teams are competing."