West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Lack of BBC GAA Coverage Unacceptable - Begley

Published: 7 August, 2008

Sinn Fein's Sean Begley has slammed the BBC after they revealed they would not be broadcasting any of the GAA quarter final matches due to be played over the next number of weeks.

This means Armaghs showdown with Wexford or Tyrones clash with Dublin will not be aired by the broadcasters.

It is understood that while BBC received free simultaneous coverage of the Ulster Championship from national broadcaster RTE no such agreement existed beyond the Ulster championship. It is believed that RTE had asked the BBC for a 'modest' sum to continue their broadcasts beyond the Ulster championship. However BBC refused to pay which means there will be no quarter final matches on BBC. It remains unclear whether the semi final or indeed the all Ireland final will be broadcast by the BBC.

Responding to the news Sinn Fein's Sean Begley said

"There is very many people throughout the north that will be left disappointed by this decision by the BBC. The GAA attracts huge support whether that be people being present at games or watching it on the TV. The decision by the BBC not to air the quarter finals of the all Ireland finals, which included two Ulster teams is beyond comprehension. People pay their TV licence fees and expect an adequate service in return-this is less than adequate and less than desirable.

"What's more is that many homes throughout the north are unable to receive RTE through their TVs so for numerous families throughout Tyrone and Armagh they will be unable to view the All Ireland quarter final unless they are willing to travel to Dublin in person to watch the match.

"In the coming days I will be in contact with the BBC in an attempt to resolve what is a huge issue for the many thousands GAA fans in the north of Ireland.