A reform of the Republic of Ireland’s local radio licensing regime is being considered by the Irish Government amid growing concern in some parts of the country over recent franchise renewal decisions by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
Two reviews are currently being planned. Dermot Ahern, minister for communications, plans to review the system before the BCI is re-established next year as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and will include responsibility for RTE.
A firm of management consultants, who will carry out a review, will have the task of identifying potential reforms such as the right to appeal licensing decisions, accountability and the costs involved in licence applications.
Controversy has been caused by recent BCI decisions which have resulted in several long-established local stations losing their licences to new consortiums in a redrawing of franchise boundaries.
By Des Cryan in Dublin