Madam, - I refer to Breda O'Brien's article of Saturday 14th December relating to, among other issues, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland's decision not to award the licence for the new franchise area of Carlow/Kilkenny to Kilkenny Community Communications Co-operative Society (Radio Kilkenny). I would like to address some inaccuracies in Ms O'Brien's article.

Radio Kilkenny has operated a commercial broadcast licence for Co Kilkenny since 1989. Its contract is due to expire in 2003. In anticipation of this fact, the board of the BCI put into place a time-frame within which to seek expressions of interest for a new phase of licensing and to advertise and grant licences before the end of its term of office in October 2003.

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has tried to ensure the implementation of best practice in relation to each licence application process. In addition to the criteria set out in the relevant broadcasting legislation, the commission has also put a number of other practices into place, as policy, to ensure a transparent, consistent and accountable licensing process.

Access to all aspects of the licensing process, from written submissions, through to oral hearings and subsequent written questions, are publicly available through the commission's offices, on its website and in the public library of the relevant franchise area.

Radio Kilkenny participated fully in the licensing process for the Carlow/Kilkenny franchise area. To state therefore, that Radio Kilkenny "have had their licence taken away by the BCI - just like that" is completely untrue and would suggest that Ms O'Brien was not in possession of any information in relation to this licensing decision.

Should Ms O'Brien wish to comment further on this issue, we would welcome the opportunity to brief her on the matter in order to bring some balance to her coverage. - Yours, etc.,

MICHAEL O'KEEFFE, Chief Executive, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, Clanwilliam Place, Dublin 2.