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New Petition Urges RTÉ to ‘Recommit to Eurovision’ and Fans

This article was written by OGAE Ireland members Ryan Cunningham and Joe Cronin who are behind the Ireland’s Eurosong Future petition 

 

As Irish Eurovision fans, PED (Post-Eurovision Depression) isn’t the only thing we face after a season ends… there’s also the overwhelming sense of dread, and feeling that there’s no way Ireland could ever return to its glory days, all things remaining the same. 

Not only this, but we’re also exposed to both extremes of perspectives in the media and amongst the public on social media. It ranges from feelings that Ireland was ‘robbed’, that voting is nothing but ‘political’ and that Europe has an axe to grind with us; to turning on the very artists that put months of hard work into representing us. Then there’s us, in the middle, knowing that none of these views are going to make anything better. 

Frustrated by years of this cycle repeating itself, where our 10-year performance streak now comprises just two qualifications across ten contests, and little innovation or reflection appears to be happening to do much in the way of changing this poor streak, Ireland’s Eurosong Future was created with the intention to unite Irish fans that want more from our national broadcaster when it comes to Eurovision. 

Our core objective is to implore RTÉ, Ireland’s delegation broadcaster, to hold a public consultation period for interested parties (i.e. fans, songwriters, performers etc.) to submit their own perspectives and suggestions when it comes to all things that relate to Ireland at Eurovision. Since our petition was started in May 2023, we have amassed a very significant 1,100+ signatures to date, and this keeps growing. 

We are extremely confident that Ireland is far from a lost cause in the contest. From a Eurovision standpoint, we share the title of the most wins (7) with just one other country (Sweden); we’ve won the contest a staggering three times in a row; and again, with Sweden (Loreen) we have a two-time Eurovision winner in Johnny Logan, who also wrote Linda Martin’s winning song. Outside of the contest, Ireland is home to some of the world’s greatest musicians with an extremely talented, and increasingly diverse, music scene. 

Sadly, while Ireland is a very musical nation, there are a number of issues that occur, before, during and after the national selection process, and systemic issues with the broadcaster’s handling of Eurovision overall.

For one, we recognise that the internal Eurovision resource at RTÉ is effectively made up of one person who is not afforded the time or additional resources to give it the attention that it duly deserves, due to his other roles and responsibilities stretching him thin. All the while, many other participating countries afford either more time, or more heads, to their delegations. 

There is a lack of adequate strategy and planning in our process (likely due to inadequate resourcing and budgeting from RTÉ) and, as the saying goes, if you keep doing things as you have always done them, you will always have the very same outcome. 

To see change, we need to make change. 

Ireland’s Head of Delegation, Michael Kealy, was quoted saying “I think everything should be on the table to have a look at, absolutely” after our non-qualification in Liverpool this May, so we know there is a desire to explore solutions and devices for change. Now it’s time for RTÉ to carry through on this, and engage with us fans, whose perspectives are extremely valuable. 

We know, from various polls that we have run with our Instagram followerbase that confidence in RTÉ’s ability to bring about Eurovision success is very low, with just 13% believing the broadcaster can deliver Eurovision success. Furthermore, just 9% believe that the Irish delegation engages with Irish fans to a satisfactory level. 

Some other poll data includes the following:

  • 9 in 10 believe that the Late Late Show is unsuited to hosting our national selection
  • 5% are proud of our national selection compared to that of other countries
  • 9 in 10 do not believe the song submission period is adequately promoted
  • 70% do not think that artists consider representing Ireland at Eurovision to be an attractive thought 

There is a common notion that RTÉ’s attitude to Eurovision is not dissimilar to how it is portrayed in a very famous Father Ted episode. Our recent track record at Eurovision does not do much in the way of challenging this notion. With this in mind, we need RTÉ to recommit to Eurovision, and that starts by giving fans and musicians a platform to express their views. 

We want to focus on our shared goals with RTÉ, strengthening the link between the broadcaster and Irish fans of the contest through a solutions-oriented dialogue. 

At the beginning of the month, we reached out to relevant executives within RTÉ, comprising both the delegation, and more senior officials that we would be consider to be ‘decision-makers’, and urged them to consider this. As of yet we await a response from RTÉ, but are hopeful that the broadcaster will accept this opportunity to better engage fans and musicians, and to reassure the public that Eurovision is in good hands with RTÉ. 

We would like to thank OGAE Ireland for providing us with this platform to share our campaign.

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