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Minister appoints new IRTC members
22 Oct 1998 :

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Sile deValera, has appointed a new Chairman and members of the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC).

The term of office of the new Commission will be five years, which took effect last Saturday (17th October 1998) and will expire on 16 October 2003.

In addition to the existing functions of the IRTC, it is the Governments intention that the new commission will remain in place to take on the expanded role of the IRTC as envisaged by the Minister under her proposed legislation on digital TV, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be published before the Christmas recess. Sile deValera has indicated that she will be asking the new Commission to prepare, in advance of the legislation, for the additional functions which will see the IRTC becoming the broadcast regulator as we move into the digital era. The Minister believes that a considerable amount of preparatory work can be done with regard to the setting of broadcast standards and the establishment of a regulatory regime for broadcast content-providers on various delivery platforms in advance of the legislation.

One surprise nomination to the board was Colum Kenny, given his vocal criticism of previous IRTC boards. In an interview given to The Sunday Business Post he said that while he could not speak on behalf of the new board he had strong views on the media and related issues in Ireland. Kenny believes that Ireland will have to scramble to catch up with foreign digital providers, or else Irish consumers will buy digital packages already being offered by BskyB etc. According to Kenny "We have got wrap a digital service in a way that is uniquely Irish, and that has got to be done fast". Although he welcomes the choice of British channels he has strong views on the impact foreign media can have on Irish society and feels Irish-made programming has an important role to fill. When questioned about TV3's heavy reliance on imported programmes he replied that the station, like any franchise station, is the responsibility of the IRTC, and he says the IRTC is closely monitoring it.

The new appointments to the Independent Radio and Television Commission are as follows:

Conor J Maguire (Chairman) is a Senior Counsel. He is a member of the Bar Council and the Council of Kings Inn and is Chairman of the Library Committee at the Law Library. He has served as founding chairman of the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice Dublin Committee, 1993-95, and was chairman of the Co-Operation North Annual Gala Fundraising Event, 1997-98.

Olive Braiden is Director of the Dublin Rape Crises Centre since 1990 and has worked there since 1983. In 1992 she initiated training in crises intervention in the former Yugoslavia and has begun a campaign for separate legal representation for victims of sex crimes.

Caimin Jones is a Kildare-based Media Consultant, specialising in media skills training, radio programme making and public relations. He has worked with RTE, Cork Local radio, RTE Radio 1 and was Chief Executive of Clare FM from 1989-94.

Vivienne Jupp is Chairperson of the Information Society Commission and a member of the Review Body on higher remuneration in the Public Sector. She is a Senior Partner with Anderson Consulting with responsibility for the firm's Government and Public Services area in Ireland and its European Government practice in the Revenue and Justice areas.

Colum Kenny is an academic and writer, who lectures in journalism and communications at DCU. He has worked for RTE and written widely on broadcasting for Irish and International publications. He is a columnist for The Sunday Independent and is a council member of Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

Mary Kerrigan is an award-winning journalist who began her career in the Financial Department of The Irish Independent before joining the Sunday Press as deputy Features Editor in 1988. Since then she has worked as News Editor with Independent Network News and Political Editor with Ireland on Sunday, with whom she is now a regular columnist. She has also recently begun to practice at the Bar.

Frank Masterson is a Kildare-based chartered accountant and financial consultant. Having trained and worked as a management consultant with KPMG, he established his own consultancy practice, Frank Materson & Associates, in 1976. He has served as a National Executive Member of the Irish Farmers Association and as a director of the Irish Farmers Journal.

Marie Ni Thuathail is founder and Managing Director of Eo Telefis Teo, an independent television production company based in Spiddle, Co. Galway. Established in 1989 Eo has expanded to include a training division and a facilities company, and is currently co-producing the television drama Ros na Run in association with Tyrone Productions for TnaG. In 1997 she was chosen as Young Business Woman of the Year.

John O'Brennan is Chairman of Dublin South Community Radio and has been a board member since 1984 and is also currently National President of the Credit Union Managers Institute. He recently retired as manager of Dundrum, Co Dublin Credit Union. He previously worked in a number of management capacities in the private sector including a number of years in the United States.

Patricia O'Donovan is Deputy General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. She has specific responsibility within the ICTU for economic and social policy, including the European dimension of these policies. She represents the ICTU on the National Economic and Social Council, the National Economic Forum and the Social Policy Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Michael McMahon 22/10/98



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