Foyle MP and SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has been elected Vice-Chair of the BBC All-Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster and has vowed to continue the fight against the planned cuts to BBC Radio Foyle.
Colum Eastwood MP said
"I am proud to be elected to this APPG to serve as vice-chair. We all know that at the end of last year BBC Northern Ireland announced cuts to flagship programming and jobs at BBC Radio Foyle. In my view, these targeted cuts are designed to make the station unsustainable and pave the way for a shutdown of the service.
"Since this announcement by the BBC, I have spoken to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and received his commitment to raise it with the BBC. I also recently attended a packed community event in the Guildhall to counter the closure by stealth of our local station. If the BBC does not give up on its plan to gut Radio Foyle, given new information that more than 50 BBC staff have expressed interest in a voluntary redundancy scheme, it will confirm that its intent all along has been to close the station down.
"As vice-chair of the BBC APPG, I will be making urgent representations to the Director General demanding that the axe hanging over young public interest news journalists and researchers is removed immediately. These people, who serve Derry and the northwest, deserve far better than the way the BBC has treated them and we won't be giving up this fight.
"The BBC charter places a duty on the organisation to ensure that audiences can engage fully with local and regional issues, and this decision is an obvious breach of that obligation. The move to decimate Radio Foyle must be opposed at every level, and I will continue to oppose these proposals in my new role as vice-chair."