Cowardice has prevailed and bureaucrats have won the day – Penrose

14 December 2016

Speaking during his Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill this evening, Willie Penrose has criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for not supporting the Bill.

“This proposed Bill, which is supported by Irish musicians across the country has one simple request – to insert a new section 65A in the Broadcasting Act 2009 to ensure that when an Irish radio license is awarded that a quota of Irish music must be played on the airwaves.

“To date we have let down Irish musicians. Irish music is no longer deemed worthy to be played on Irish radio. We need to do more than pay lip service to the great talent on this island.

“It is our duty as legislators to protect and promote our citizens creative spirit.

“I have been focused on this issue for a number of years, having had detailed discussions with numerous musicians, composers and singers, among them Stephen Travers, Danny McCarthy and the world-renowned Johnny Duhan, who has written extensively on this issue and has compellingly debunked the basis of the many and varied bureaucratic responses which were the hallmark of political and ministerial answers to this suggestion of a quota, which were cowardly. The position adopted by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources does not stand up to any independent scrutiny. The proposal has been carefully couched so as not to contravene European law. The hoary old chestnut of a reply that there is no clear definition of what constitutes contemporary Irish music in all its diversity that would convince the EU authorities that we have legitimate case for legislating for a quota in Ireland is wrong. Why was it possible for France to do it? Perhaps in the context of Brexit the European Commission will cop itself on and realise that we have some degree of independence, particularly in our culture and music.

“I am disappointed that this Bill won’t be allowed to progress to Committee stage to iron out any issues with the Bill but my disappointment doesn’t compare to that of the musicians who are gathered here tonight. Cowardice has prevailed and bureaucrats have won the day.”

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