Minister for Disability and Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Anne Rabbitte, has called on the GAA and RTÉ to review the operation of their streaming service, GAAGO.

Minister Rabbitte calls for GAA & RTÉ to review operation of GAAGO 1
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The comments come following the weekend’s GAA Senior Football Championship Quarter Final between Galway and Dublin, which did not broadcast on free-to-air TV but instead on GAAGO.

A paid subscription is required to access the service.

Minister Rabbitte said:

After a stunning win for Galway at the weekend, we’re thankfully able to now look to what’s in store for the semi-final against Donegal in a fortnight, but I think it’s really important for me as a public rep to say it’s an absolute shame that so many people were unable to watch the match on Saturday.

Minister Rabbitte calls for GAA & RTÉ to review operation of GAAGO 3
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In what was a pivotal game for Pádraic Joyce’s men, I have had so many people say to me since that they were utterly disappointed to not be able to see it on the telly.

While I absolutely appreciate the stellar work of GalwayBay FM in particular for their radio commentary, the match’s absence on free-to-air TV was a bitter situation for people in nursing homes, in hospitals, the elderly or even just those with poor broadband.

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In a week that saw the passing of the legendary Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh, who was able to paint such vivid imagery of the action on the pitch, it seems backwards that the general public couldn’t watch the match without needing to pay for access to GAAGO.

and she continued:

And the day of making your way up to Croker, with flags billowing in the wind, ham sandwiches, Marietta biscuits and flasks in the boot, is well and truly a distant memory for so many GAA fans.

Remember when I pulled up and said, ‘Get in the car,’ and then canceled my plans just in case you’d call, back when I was living for the hope of it all.” — “August” from Folklore

Minister Rabbitte calls for GAA & RTÉ to review operation of GAAGO 5
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Our national sports, and the path to Croker is, after all, in competition with other big events, with other idols, such as Taylor Swift, for fan’s devotion and traffic chaos.

Minister Rabbitte calls for GAA & RTÉ to review operation of GAAGO 7
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While the service is redundant for the remainder of the Championship, I think now is the time for both the GAA and RTÉ to be called to task over the service’s future and the impact it’s having.

It’s not even clear if the service is properly licensed as it was initially meant to be for use outside of Ireland but has since expanded for use within the Republic.

Neither camp has clarified if and when this change was agreed to.

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Minister Rabbitte concluded:

I am raising this issue with the Department of Sport and with government colleagues as it’s taking so much away from the people who invested time and energy into the GAA over the last number of decades and now they feel abandoned. 

Everything has changed.

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