BBC director general must visit Co. Derry

  • 05 Jan 2023

Derry voices cannot be ignored.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary has called on BBC director general Tim Davie and chair Richard Sharp, to visit Derry and engage directly with the community on the future of Radio Foyle.

The union has pointed out that with no Northern Ireland representation on the current BBC board, decisions in relation to services in the region have been taken without any local input.

Speaking in the aftermath of a crowded public meeting in the Guildhall hosted by the Mayor of Derry and Strabane district Sandra Duffy on Wednesday night, Séamus Dooley said only an out of touch board would ignore “the angry and determined voice of a risen people.”

He said:

“The historic Guildhall echoed to the rafters as more than 250 people demanded the retention of existing news services at Radio Foyle. The director general and chair need to show leadership, to engage with the community and hear what their incredibly local listeners have to say.

“The powerful testimonies from across every sector of the community are confirmation of the role Radio Foyle plays within its vast catchment area, which extends beyond Derry’s walls.

“Because of the current political deadlock in Northern Ireland there is no NI nominee to the board, as provided for in legislation.

“In these circumstances there is a particular onus on Richard Sharp to protect the interest of Northern Ireland. One way he can do this is by coming to Northern Ireland and engaging with the community.

“There is a compelling logic in postposing the proposed cuts to Radio Foyle. We need a review of the full implications for a unique region of what many see as the first step in dismantling a station set up to address an imbalance in regional coverage.”

He added:

“We are grateful to everyone who attended last night and to all those who sent messages. Our campaign continues and we welcome the ongoing support of the community, trade unions, political parties, civic groups, and Foyle listeners."

Sign the petition and join the union in opposing cuts at Radio Foyle. 

Find out more about the Save BBC Radio Foyle campaign and take action, using template letters to urge a rethink of damaging proposals.

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