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I wish you would give space to hear the concerns of the Irish diaspora in Britain.
RTÉ has deferred its plans to withdraw longwave radio, a plan which would mean an almost total severing of the connection between many Irish in Britain, especially the elderly, and Ireland.
The elderly Irish are not all computer literate. They do no have Sky TV. They rely entirely on radio which, with the advantage of long wave, brings Ireland into their lonely flats and bed-sits 24 hours a day. It is a lifeline.
It brings them comfort to listen to the GAA matches, the Sunday worship, Ceilidh House, Fáilte Isteach etc. These may be the only voices they hear from one end of the week to the other. Many of these are the “forgotten Irish”.
We got one month’s notice of RTÉ’s original plans to shut down the service by the end of this month. There was no consultation about this. Indeed some unfortunate old people are not still aware that this is going to happen. We feel sad, bereft and angry.
Maighréad de Buitléir
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