Ministers will appear on UTV Ireland, Taoiseach promises

Government will discuss ‘issues of day’ on channel, says Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UTV Ireland news anchor Alison Comyn at the station’s Dublin studio Photograph: Jason Clarke

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UTV Ireland news anchor Alison Comyn at the station’s Dublin studio Photograph: Jason Clarke

 

Government ministers will make themselves available for interview to UTV Ireland’s news and current affairs team, Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised as he officially opened the station’s new studios in Dublin’s Docklands.

“The Government will support UTV’s current affairs programming. This is very important: members of the Government will take the opportunities on UTV Ireland to communicate, to discuss and to debate the Government’s plan for recovery as our country moves forward,” he said.

The launch of the Republic of Ireland-focused channel by Belfast-based UTV Media plc on January 1st is therefore “an important juncture on the pathway of the road to recovery”, the Taoiseach concluded.

In another reference to ministerial interviews, Mr Kenny did not specify the proviso that the topic up for discussion must be economic recovery. Members of the Government would be available “to discuss and debate the issues of the day and what it means for the people of the country,” he said.

UTV Ireland will launch on the evening of January 1st with a special programme presented by Pat Kenny. The first night’s schedule will also include Emmerdale, one of the two UK soaps that will air on UTV rather than TV3 from 2015.

From Monday January 5th, it will broadcast the UTV Live news bulletin at 6.30pm and a later, more in-depth hour of coverage called UTV Live at 10, which will overlap with RTÉ’s current affairs programming three nights a week.

UTV Media group chief executive John McCann said the timeframe of a little more than a year for launching the channel had been “ambitious”, but that the station would be ready to go on air “in three short weeks”.