NEW eir Sport pundit Joe Brolly has said that a decade of “howling at the moon” over keeping Gaelic games free-to-air was behind his decision to link up with the pay-per-view station.
The Derry man said that he campaigned vigorously against the decision to have paid GAA content introduced, including a series of meetings with then GAA Director General Pauric Duffy, but ultimately his message was “comprehensively rejected.”
The Gaelic Life columnist, who also pointed out that 600,000 people receive eir Sports free as part of their broadband package, explained his U-turn.
“I started to object 10 years ago, setting out the case for the games to be available to everybody regardless of means,” said Brolly, whose association with RTÉ came to an end in September.
“I met Pauric Duffy three times about it when he was the Director General. I met him at the start of the rights issue and at the second round of the rights issue.
“He made it clear that this was the new landscape and that it wasn’t going to change. He did agonise over it.
“I continued to make my case. I’m very close, for example, to patients in hospitals, I’m heavily involved with Hospice and Cystic Fibrosis charities.
“But after 10 years my argument has been comprehensively rejected, absolutely rejected.
“In truth it has reached the stage where I’m howling in the wind. I’m certainly the only pundit who blazed a trail on it; none of the journalists were interested in it. Even my own kids were saying get real.
“There comes a point where it becomes entirely pointless. Like many things in society they change and they change permanently.”
Brolly also said that the changing media landscape also played a part in his decision.
“Something that I had become conscious of much more was the viewing habits of younger people.
“My own kids for example, more or less watch Youtube and online.
“There is going to be a new landscape for the games, there’s absolutely no doubt about that – the GAA have decided that.”
Read the full interview in Thursday’s Gaelic Life, including Joe Brolly’s view on his RTÉ exit. Subscribe to our online edition at here.