MORE than 500 people have signed an online petition calling on RTÉ to provide live coverage of the Special Olympics Ireland games which get underway in Limerick later this week.
Labour Senator Mary Moran, who set up the petition at change.org, said she was “disappointed” that the State broadcaster will not be providing live coverage of the games, which will be the biggest sporting event staged in Ireland this year.
“I think it is only fair that a sporting event of this magnitude should be given the same amount of live air-time as other sporting events. RTÉ has committed to including some coverage of the games in news bulletins or current affairs programmes. However I am very disappointed that RTÉ as our national broadcaster, has no plans to broadcast live coverage of the games,” she said.
More than 1,500 athletes and thousands of volunteers will take part in the games, which will continue until Sunday evening.
RTÉ insists it will provide comprehensive coverage of the games on television, radio and online but cannot afford to provide live coverage.
“While RTÉ covered the World Games Opening Ceremony live, we have never covered the national games live. Live broadcasting is an extremely expensive business and RTÉ does not have the resources to do so on this occasion. I hope that the level of commitment on national television and radio will demonstrate RTÉ’s recognition of the importance of the games,” said Ryle Nugent, group head of sport at RTÉ.
The national broadcaster says the opening ceremony, which takes place at the People’s Park on Thursday night, will be covered on the main television news bulletins and that there will be further coverage of the ceremony on Morning Edition on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now.
There will be further coverage of the games across the weekend on RTÉ Radio.
Meanwhile, RTÉ One’s Nationwide will record at the games across the weekend for a special report which will be broadcast on Wednesday, June 18.