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Major twist in Buncrana radio bid 25.01.08

THERE's been a major twist in the bid for a new radio station for south Inishowen based in Buncrana.
Funding for the project through the Pobal scheme, has been turned down by Rural Affairs Minister Eamon O Cuiv. However, the group vying for the licence has been told the station can still go ahead with the expansion of Inishowen Community Radio based in north Inishowen.
Towards that aim, South Inishowen Community Radio (SICR) has, in recent weeks, formally merged with ICRfm. The new merger has since been negotiating with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland on plans to expand the service
into the south to include Buncrana, Fahan, Burnfoot and other areas.
Jim Doherty, who is manager of ICRfm and chair of the merged group said the twist was "unexpected but very welcome in its own way".
“From day one, Inishowen Community Radio was established to be a station for all of Inishowen, not just part of it,” he said.
"But for various reasons the station was only permitted a limited coverage area. We were told that the only way south Inishowen could have a community radio service was if the people here set up a separate station. That’s all changed now."
He added: “We will be applying for a temporary licence for the new south Inishowen service over the coming weeks. This licence will allow us to broadcast every Saturday and Sunday for 15 weeks. The plan then is to submit an expression of interest for a full licence later in the year."
The new development will mean ICR will have radio studios in Buncrana as well as Carndonagh with plans to include a mobile studio to broadcast from outlying areas on a regular basis. “All of this will cost money and we will need extra staff but we are confident that the Minister, through Pobal, will support the initiative. In some ways we seem to have come full circle but better late than never,” added the group chairperson.
ICR will hold a public meeting in the Inishowen Development Partnership offices beside Buncrana Library, on Wednesday, January 30, at 7.30pm.
Anyone with an interest in getting involved with the local radio station should go along for an update and outline of future plans.
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