The Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) is inviting submissions on its ownership guidelines for independent broadcasting, including independent commercial radio stations, and has recently published a consultation document entitled Regulating for Pluralism and Diversity in Broadcasting - The Way Forward.

This consultation process follows on from the IRTC decision earlier in the year to relax its ownership guidelines which placed a limit of 27% on the proportion which certain media operators could own in an independent radio station, in the context of the purchase of a stake in County Media by Ulster Television (UTV).

As reported in the press, UTV initially sought the IRTC's consent to acquire 100% of County Media. The minister for enterprise, trade and employment had previously cleared this purchase under the Mergers and Takeovers (Control) Acts 1978 to 1996. It was reported that the IRTC initially turned down UTV's request for consent to acquire 100% of County Media, but eventually agreed that UTV could purchase 60% of County Media.

The closing date for submissions on the ownership guidelines is July 18 2001 and it is expected that a significant number of submissions will be made by those involved in the broadcasting industry. The IRTC consultation document is available on the IRTC’s web site at

For further information on this topic please contact David Sanfey at A & L Goodbody by telephone (+353 1 649 2000) or by fax (+353 1 649 2649) or by e-mail ([email protected]). The A & L Goodbody web site can be accessed at

The materials contained on this web site are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.