RTÉ long wave radio service extended until 2017

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is to extend its long wave radio service for listeners outside the country.

The LW252 signal, which brings programmes to listeners across the UK, including parts of Northern Ireland that cannot access an FM service, was due to stop in January.

It will operate a full service in 2015, reduced hours in 2016 before working towards a full shutdown in 2017.

RTÉ said that it had made the decision after listeners raised concerns.

'Key priority'

Head of RTÉ Radio 1 Tom McGuire said they had listened particularly to the concerns raised by and on behalf of the elderly Irish in the UK.

"Cost reduction remains a key priority for RTÉ and we remain convinced that, in the longer term, longwave has had its day.

"Nonetheless and despite the mid-term cost impact, RTÉ believes it is necessary to take a collaborative approach and slow this transition."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has announced it is prepared to work with RTÉ to commission specific research to understand the community in the UK who listen to the longwave service.

The research will be conducted next year, will be funded by the department and will include perspectives from community groups representing the Irish elderly in the UK.

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