Belfast Telegraph

RTE defends 'freebie' Royal wedding coverage as public will watch it

By Gareth Cross

RTE defended its decision to broadcast the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle saying there would likely be huge public interest and the coverage was being provided for free.

However, Sinn Fein's  Niall O Donnghaile  said the broadcaster should instead focus on covering events in Ireland.

RTE will broadcast the Royal nuptials live on RTE One on Saturday, May 19, a decision which sparked anger among some on social media.

Sinn Fein Fingal councillor Paul Donnelly described the move as “a disgraceful waste of taxpayers' money,” asking "surely there's something happening in Ireland more worthy of our national broadcasting bothering to broadcast?"

However, an RTE spokesperson pointed out that broadcasting the wedding will cost the channel nothing and is likely to deliver big ratings, if the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was anything to go by.

“The Royal Wedding is being offered to RTE and other public service broadcasters - free of charge via the BBC,” the spokesperson said.

“RTE will provide its own commentary.”

The spokesperson said that the RTE footage would not include a studio set and would simply be voice overs including pictures and footage.

“We previously showed William and Kate's wedding, so this is not the first time RTE has shown a royal wedding,” the spokesperson pointed out.

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast and Sinn Fein senator Niall O Donnghaile said the decision to broadcast the wedding had proved controversial.

"The scheduling issue is a matter for RTE and you can see from the reaction on social media that it is unsurprisingly a bit of a controversial decision,” he said.

“I would rather they would focus on providing a full service, and indeed proper coverage right across Ireland, before they would be showing events happening in Britain.”

Prince Harry and US television star Meghan Markle will tie the knot next Saturday at Windsor Castle in front of the Royal Family and invited guests.

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