Phil Prendergast is set to raise the issue in Brussels.

THE lack of proper Saorview coverage across large areas of West Cork is set to be raised with the European Union in Brussels following the intervention of an MEP.

The issue was first flagged by local Fine Gael TD Jim Daly and now Labour MEP Phil Prendergast has vowed to find out from Europe if leaving large areas without a terrestrial TV service after the digital switch over is actually legal.

As reported on West Cork Times, large areas of rural West Cork will not be able to receive the free Saorview service as inadequate transmitters are in place to ensure the signal reaches the varied terrain of the area.

Potentially thousands of homes right across West Cork will no longer be able to receive the main RTE channels without buying expensive satellite equipment and even then they will not received TV3.

Local Labour TD Michael McCarthy said he supported the move by his party colleague.

“It is unfair in the extreme that areas of West Cork will be disproportionately affected by the digital switchover when it happens and every effort must be made to accommodate people who are rightfully entitled to full level of television service provision, alike with people elsewhere around the country,” he said.

MEP Prendergast said she believed that the possible lack of digital TV reception in parts of Munster, after analogue transmitters are switched off at the end of the year, raises questions in terms of compliance with EU law.

“The provision of TV reception is a service of general interest. Even for liberalised sectors, there are universal service provision obligations in EU law which require that all the territory be covered at affordable tariffs and with similar quality standards, even in areas where such provision is not profitable.

“This is meant to protect citizens and consumers’ rights in the face of market gaps. I will also raise this issue at the earliest opportunity during a plenary session of the European Parliament,” she said.