Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South has today written to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White, requesting a meeting to discuss the problems faced by those involved in the music industry in Ireland in accessing airwaves nationwide.
Speaking from Strasbourg Ní Riada said:
“Ireland is recognised worldwide for its rich cultural heritage and our extremely talented musicians and composers are central to this. Unfortunately those involved in the Irish music industry are struggling to make ends meet due to the lack of radio airplay they get on our national radio stations.
“It is extremely difficult for Irish music to compete with the multi-national music companies of mainly Britain, the USA and Australia who dominate the broadcasting sector in Ireland. The reality is that the broad spectrum of Irish music in Ireland is given very little consideration on radio and gets less than 10% of the annual airplay. Ireland is bursting with talented artists and in this economic climate, we surely need to be tapping into this creativity, encouraging and nurturing our musicians, our songwriters, and our performers. We need to provide real investment into our creative industry.
“I understand that the Minister has maintained that it is a European directive that is preventing them from applying such a quota. I find this hard to believe as I am aware that that in France they managed to legislate for 40% airplay in 1996 because of language and culture and I strongly believe that Ireland must now be given similar consideration. I find this reasoning to be disingenuous and I believe that it is a lack of will that is preventing him from taking appropriate action.
“Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan and I have written to the commission seeking clarification on this matter and I hope to use my position on the Culture and Education committee to push forward with this issue. A proper percentage airplay is crucial for Irish music and in helping to develop and maintain a strong industry into the future. “