TV3 brings back weekend news bulletins

Virgin Media-owned broadcaster has upgraded its original Ballymount studio

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten joins news presenter Colette Fitzpatrick at the official opening of TV3’s upgraded Studio One in Ballymount. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten joins news presenter Colette Fitzpatrick at the official opening of TV3’s upgraded Studio One in Ballymount. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

 

TV3 will reintroduce weekend news bulletins from next month as part of a revamp of its news service, 3News Ireland.

The move was confirmed as Minister for Communications Denis Naughten attended the official opening of TV3’s newly refurbished Studio One at its premises in Ballymount in Dublin.

Studio One is the name given to TV3’s original studio, first built for the launch of the channel in 1998. It has recently been upgraded to HD, while the group has invested in more modern studio and transmission equipment.

TV3 Group, which is owned by Virgin Media, also announced that it will operate a regional news studio in Limerick.

This will be located at Virgin Media’s contact centre in Roxboro and will provide a base for its midwestern reporter, Eric Clarke, who was among the journalists to move from UTV Ireland to TV3 after Virgin acquired UTV Ireland last year.

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TV3 said the Limerick studio, when combined with its facility in Cork, meant the south and midwest were now “fully covered by regional reporters and correspondents”.

The additional news bulletins will run at 5.30pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, the group said, and will resume on May 6th.

The broadcaster axed full weekend bulletins in 2008 as the company, then owned by private equity firm Doughty Hanson, made cutbacks as a result of a sharp plunge in advertising revenues.

TV3’s news coverage is overseen by head of news Mick McCaffrey, who was previously the news editor at UTV Ireland. The group’s main news presenter is Colette Fitzpatrick, who resigned from Newstalk in February in order to return to TV3 full-time.

TV3, which also owns the 3e and Be3 channels, now has two HD studios – the original, now upgraded studio and the 5,000sq ft studio that opened in 2013 and is now known as Studio Two.

“The availability of two HD studios at TV3 is a hugely significant step forward for Irish television and will only add to TV3’s well established credibility and reputation as a significant force in Irish broadcasting,” Mr Naughten said.

TV3 Group managing director Pat Kiely said the group was increasing its content production with the assistance of a multimillion euro investment by Virgin in its infrastructure.

“In this golden age of TV, quality originated programming will help TV3 compete against increasing competition and our new facilities will help us deliver the highest standards of production and picture quality.”