The €3.3m provision for the channel was included as part of the Budget 2023 allocation for TG4 which received a record increase of €7.3m in funding, the largest ever annual increase to the broadcaster.
Speaking about the new Irish language channel, Minister Martin said, “I am delighted to announce my consent to TG4’s proposal to establish a new dedicated Irish language children’s channel, Cúla4. While full details of the new channel will be announced by TG4 in due course, it will include a children’s news service, edutainment content, drama, Irish animation, and will reflect the diverse backgrounds of children living in all parts of Ireland, but particularly in Gaeltacht and Irish speaking communities.”
This consent follows the completion of sectoral impact and public value assessments as required under the Broadcasting Act, 2009. The outcome of these assessments was very positive in terms of the additional value which such a channel will bring to Irish broadcasting, content provision for young people and language development.
Commenting on the overall increase to TG4, Minister Martin added, “this increase is hugely significant, not only in terms of Irish language programming, but in the role played by TG4 in the delivery of the Government’s 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, and will enable TG4 to better serve Irish-speaking communities, and provide increased support to our regional creative companies.”
TG4 is the Irish Language Public service broadcaster whose public service obligations are set out in Section 118 of the Broadcasting Act 2009. They are largely funded by the exchequer with some commercial income. The additional funding of €7.3m will help the broadcaster fulfil their public service obligations.TG4 intend to establish the new Cúla4 children’s channel in 2023 and will announce further details nearer to the launch date. €3.3m of the additional funding will be used to set up the new service including the commissioning of content from the independent production sector.
Section 103 of the Broadcasting Act requires Ministerial consent to be provided for any variation of services including additional channels. It further requires that the BAI undertake a sectoral impact assessment and that the Department undertakes a public value assessment. These assessments have been completed and will be published on the Department’s website together with the Minister’s decision in the coming days.