Royals but no Saffrons on television

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Sinn Fein has criticised the BBC’s lack of coverage of Gaelic games in a meeting with representatives of the GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association).

The party’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill led a delegation to the meeting which included local representative Sinead Ennis and MP Paul Maskey. The meeting came after it emerged that a total of only four live football games are to be shown on BBC Sport this season.

Ms Ennis has previously voiced concern that the BBC’s coverage of the GAA does not reflect the popularity of Gaelic games.

The former South Down Assembly member has said the coverage “remains a source of huge frustration”.

“In particular the latter stages of the Championship, including the All-Ireland final which is beamed to millions around the world, are not broadcast by the BBC here,” she said.

The BBC typically provides extensive live coverage of the activities of the Protestant Orange Order every July 12, when it celebrates an ancient battle victory over Catholics.

ROYAL THUMBS UP

This week it broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of the wedding of English ‘Prince’ Harry Windsor to US actress Maghan Markle.

The Irish state broadcaster, RTE, also showed the wedding in full. Over the weekend, Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady lashed out at the 26 County channel for showing the wedding, before withdrawing the remark.

“As an Irish Republican living in a so called ‘Republic’ I totally oppose RTE using my TV license money to broadcast the wedding of a privileged English monarch,” he wrote on Twitter. However, he later deleted the tweet, apparently under pressure from the Sinn Fein leadership.

Former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams retweeted a comment critical of Mr Brady, which said “let bygones be bygones” and called for more “gestures of goodwill to our unionist brothers”.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said she understood why people would want to see the wedding. “I did see Meghan Markle’s dress. She looked astonishingly lovely. I’m a fan of hers because like everyone else I’ve watched [US TV show] Suits,” she said.

Sinn Fein also refrained from criticising the decision by the British royal family to honour the newlyweds with the titles of Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel in County Down. The title was considered less offensive than the one originally mooted, the Dukes and Duchess of Connaught [Connacht] in the west of Ireland. The pair are to visit Ireland this summer and are expected to travel to the Kilkeel area.

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