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Launched:31st October 1996
Audience Share: 3.3% (May '05)
Owned By: Radio Telefís Éireann
Web Address:TG4 website (
Availability [1] (
Terrestrial Analogue:UHF channels 23, 31, 33, 50, 55, 59, 63, 68 (PAL I standard)
NTL Digital: channel 104
Chorus Digital: channel 4
Satellite:Sky Digital channel 104 (Republic of Ireland), channel 269 (Northern Ireland)

TG4 is a television channel for speakers of the Irish language which was launched on 31 October 1996; it was known as Teilifís na Gaeilge or TnaG before a rebranding campaign in 1999. It has some organisational links with the Irish state broadcaster, Radio Telefís Éireann. The name is read in Irish as T G a Ceathair or T G Ceathair - "Ceathair" may be pronounced as CAT-AIR or CAH-HER.



While 730,000 viewers tune in to the station every day, the core audience is more in the region of 100,000. The daily Irish language programme schedule is its central service: over seven hours of programming in Irish, supported by a wide range of material in other languages (mainly English).

TG4 invests over €15m annually in original Irish programming from the independent production sector in Ireland. The channel has had a major role in increasing the profile of Ireland's Irish-speaking minority, which is mostly resident in rural west-coast communities, but is increasingly represented by a self-confident and vibrant community in Ireland's cities. Considered technologically innovative and creative, TG4 is making some of its programming available on the internet to subscribers. The soap opera Ros na Rún is one of its most popular programmes, and the station has a developed a reputation for ground-breaking independently produced documentaries.

TG4 is operated by Seirbhisí Telefís na Gaeilge Teoranta, a subsidary of Radio Telefís Éireann. It also has a separate advisory council, Comhairle Telefís na Gaeilge. It however operates completely separately from the rest of the RTE corporate structure, though RTÉ does provide one hour of free programming a day, and Nuacht TG4 is produced by RTÉ News. Under the Broadcasting Act 2001, the assets of TG4 can be transferred to a new public corporation independent of RTÉ, called Telefís na Gaeilge. However this portion of the act has yet to be commenced. Current speculation is that it may come into effect in 2006.

Northern Ireland

TG4 was originally only available in Northern Ireland via 'overspill' of the terrestrial signal from across the border. In the 1998 Belfast Agreement there was provision for TG4 (then TnaG) to be made more widely available in Northern Ireland, along with increased recognition of the Irish language. However, progress was limited, with the channel not yet able to secure carriage on cable TV. Similarly, while TG4, along with the Republic's other terrestrial channels, is carried on Sky Digital there, it was not available to Sky subscribers in Northern Ireland until 18 April, 2005,

In March 2005, TG4 began broadcasting from the Divis transmitter near Belfast, as a result of agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Northern Ireland Office.


When TnaG was launched, it was derided as a white elephant by Kevin Myers of the Irish Times, who called it 'Telefís De Lorean', in a reference to the ill-fated De Lorean Motor Company.

See also

External links

Radio Telefís Éireann Missing image
corporate logo

Television: RTÉ One | RTÉ Two | TG4

Radio: RTÉ Radio 1 | 2FM | RTÉ Lyric FM | Raidió na Gaeltachta


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