Northern Ireland news

TD calls for minister to intervene in RTÉ Player problem

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith
Mairead Holland

A FIANNA Fáil TD has called on Ireland's Minister for Communications to intervene in the ongoing problem of Northern Ireland residents not being able to access some of RTÉ's online services.

Brendan Smith, who represents Cavan-Monaghan, said Richard Bruton must use his office to guarantee that anyone in any part of Ireland can use the RTÉ Player.

The service, similar to the BBC iPlayer, promises 'free online catch-up of all your favourite RTÉ programmes'.

But residents of the north have repeatedly complained of problems accessing programmes because they are treated as 'international' viewers.

Viewers connect to the website or app through an IP (internet protocol) address. But internet service providers routinely allocate customers in Northern Ireland an IP address in Britain, while RTÉ requires an IP address in the Republic or Northern Ireland.

Deputy Smith said: “Due to regional restrictions RTÉ online services are limited in Northern Ireland. There is an expectation that these services should not be restricted at all. RTÉ broadcast to the island of Ireland, without restriction. This should also apply, and be easier to access, online.

“I understand the problem arises from IP addresses and those classed with an IP address in ‘Britain'. The Minister for Communications must use his office to intervene and guarantee that anyone in Ireland, in any part of our island, can access RTÉ's online services."

He added: “It is disgraceful that Northern Irish viewers are classed as 'international'. The Minister must speak with senior management in RTÉ to see arrangements made to ensure seamless access is made available to those in Northern Ireland."

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (CCAE) said: "RTÉ is committed to making its services widely accessible to all viewers on the Island of Ireland and to the widest possible audience across a broad range of devices and platforms.

"RTÉ is aware that occasionally, some users in Northern Ireland experience challenges in accessing programmes on the RTÉ player and it has been working over a number of years to resolve difficulties that may arise either for rights reasons or because of the IP address assigned to a user."

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