Setanta threatens to leave Ireland over planning row

A leading TV sports broadcaster has warned it could close its Irish operations and move to the UK with the loss of 40 jobs as a result of a planning row.

Setanta Transmissions, which provides transmission services for several sports channels including Eir Sport (formerly Setanta Sports) claims it will be put out of business as a result of a recent decision to grant planning permission for a high-rise building adjacent to its Dublin headquarters which it claims will block its satellite signals.

The firm believes allowing the development to go ahead would force it to cease operating its business from where it has been located for the past 17 years with the loss of 40 jobs.

It has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against a recent decision of Dublin City Council to approve the development of a one-floor extension to an existing five-storey office block at City Quay.

The planned works by Irish Life Assurance will bring the height of the building to 23.5 metres, adding an extra 898 sq m in floor space.

Setanta claimed Broadcasting House, the building in which it is located at Princess Street South, was the highest building in the area when it moved there in July 2000.

Satellite dishes on the roof of the building broadcast an array of international sports including English Premier League, Champions League, European Rugby, Six Nations and Airtricity League matches.

The company said that as a result of other developments its offices were now surrounded by buildings which were all taller.

In its appeal to An Bord Pleanála, Setanta said the proposed development would “completely obscure” the line of sight between its 11 dishes and satellite constellations.

“These dishes would not be able to access the sports off the satellite which would render this location unsuitable for a business that has operated at Princess St South for over 16 years,” the company said.

It added: “The business would probably relocate to London where there would be marginal economies of scale for [Setanta].”

Setanta said its Princess St premises provided the link for four channels aired in Eurasia, one in Asia, two in the UK and two in Ireland.

“It’s the only playout facility in Ireland and it would be regrettable to lose this type of international business from Dublin and Ireland.”

Setanta criticised council planning officials for stating that adjoining buildings were entitled to be extended if in accordance with the City Development Plan.

It pointed out the plan stipulated that planning should “improve the business environment so that existing jobs are supported”.

It also accused a council official of being inaccurate in claiming there was no record of planning permission for Setanta’s satellite dishes. The company said they were an exempt development and thus authorised structures.


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