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Minister Says Toodle-Oo To Pay Per View; Sile saves big matches for fans.

IRISH people will be able to watch major sporting events for free under a new law.

Yesterday Arts Minister Sile de Valera unveiled a new bill which will keep major Irish sporting events off pay-per-view television.

The announcement comes after an Irish Mirror campaign to keep Ireland's sport on Irish television.

Last April thousands of rugby fans were unable to watch the annual England versus Ireland rugby game for the first time ever on national television.

But the government has finally said it will now draw up a list of sporting events "of national importance" which will have to be broadcast for free on national television.

This means that games like the All-Ireland finals and Ireland's soccer and rugby matches will be available on either RTE or TV3, even if Sky Sports has already bought the rights to them.

And Minister de Valera is also set to slap a "hands off our heritage" ban on the St Patrick's Day parade and the Fleadh Ceol.

The new laws are similar to those already in place in Britain and other European countries.

Under them RTE and TV3 will have the right to demand access to an Irish sporting event even if it is being held abroad.
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Author:Brophy, Karl
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 29, 1998
Words:204
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