Your country, your comedy gold

Leinster House: Image via Flikr

More than once, I’ve bemoaned the lack of decent satire on Irish television. What I had in mind was something like the Daily Show – the US version with Jon Stewart, not the Irish afternoon armchairs and gossip programme.

Last week, in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal, I found out one of the reasons for the absence of such a show on Irish television. Stewart ran a segment on the House of Commons hearings into what Rupert Murdoch knew and when, but Channel Four was unable to screen the episode.

It turns out there’s a law prohibiting the use of House of Commons footage in a comedy or satirical context. And since much Irish law is a cut and paste of UK legislation, a similar provision exists in Irish statute.

I think that’s a shame. Think of the employment opportunities we could create if Irish comedians were granted access to such a rich vein of comedy gold.

Seriously, you paid for that Dáil footage. You should have the right to access it. If RTE or TV3 won’t run with it, at least we’d have the pleasure of youtube remixes.

So here’s the petition. Add your name.

UPDATE: The exact nature and extent of the ban is a matter of some dispute, as this post by Fergal Crehan shows.

Leinster House: Image via Flikr

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. I’ll gladly add my name.

    I noticed the following a few months or two back under an stream. It’s pretty nonsense to be honest.

    ” Rules of Coverage

    The Joint Administration Committee and the Working Group of Committee Chairmen have approved the Webcasting of the Dáil, Seanad, and Parliamentary Committees.

    Please note that use of Webcasts and broadcasts of the Houses and Parliamentary Committees must be in accordance with the Standing Orders of both Houses and the Rules of Coverage, in particular:

    “… that recordings or extracts of the proceedings shall not be used in programmes of light entertainment, political satire, party political broadcasts or in any form of advertising or publicity, other than in the form of news and current affairs programme trailers…”.

    A lovely little country.

  2. Reading the Tuppenceworth blog, the legal consensus seems to be that the standing orders of the House apply only to members of the House, and so any external use of the Oireachtas footage is as you wish, since the House cannot effectively sanction me. If they wanted to make an issue of it though, I’d still have to foot my own legal bills.

    And that ignores the issue of copyright.

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