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A recent change on RTE making those from the north unable to participate in phone in/ text competitions on popular programmes including The Late Late Show and the Sunday Game, has resulted in a call by a local MLA for the national broadcaster to explain their rationalle.

MLA Justin McNulty explained, "Over recent weeks I have noticed that competitions on shows such as the Sunday Game or The Late Late Show are not open to residents in the north. Armagh is every bit as Irish as Athlone. This is completely unacceptable and is infuriating many of us RTÉ’ northern viewers.

The Late Late Show is one of the RTE shows that have excluded telephone entries from the north in recent weeks. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The Late Late Show is one of the RTE shows that have excluded telephone entries from the north in recent weeks. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

"RTÉ is our national broadcaster and it does not just broadcast to the Republic of Ireland. To restrict access to the services and competitions hosted by RTÉ has caused much indignation within the community I represent.

"The Sunday Game and Late Late Show along with many other shows produced by RTÉ are part of the fabric of life here and to be excluded from participation in competitions I believe is discriminatory."

A screenshot of a recent Late Late Show competition excluding entries from the north.
A screenshot of a recent Late Late Show competition excluding entries from the north.

Mr McNulty has asked the RTE Director General to explain the rationale behind what he believes to be a discriminatory practice and requested her to outline any appraisal of equality considerations which were part of the decision making process.

The Newry and Armagh MLA concluded, "This is not a trivial matter and it’s not about encouraging people to engage in competitions. It’s about all viewers across this island being treated on a fair and equitable basis. I am not letting this go - it’s an issue that has to be resolved so that Northern viewers do not feel left out."

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