HC Deb 20 April 1998 vol 310 cc432-3W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate she has made of the cost to United Kingdom public funds of the onward transmission of Radio Telefis Eireann into Northern Ireland; who will pay the costs incurred within the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement on the discussion of the matter at the Anglo-Irish Conference on 6 March. [34614]

Marjorie Mowlam

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for broadcasting policy. His officials and UK broadcasters are currently discussing with their Irish counterparts proposals to increase power to extend the coverage of RTE services within Northern Ireland. Before my right hon. Friend can agree to any such increased power transmissions, the necessary engineering work to protect UK services will have to be undertaken. The costs of any engineering work required in the UK which forms part of any UK-Irish agreement to extend RTE reception in Northern Ireland will be wholly funded by the Irish.

We discussed plans for the early extension of RTE transmission throughout Northern Ireland at the Intergovernmental conference meeting on 5 March.