Youth wing of Fine Gael to debate future of broadcast of the Angelus

Staff reporter

Young Fine Gael may be poised to return to the party’s roots in the Christian democratic tradition if a motion due to be debated at a summer school at the weekend is anything to go by.

Members of the youth wing of Fine Gael will debate a motion calling on RTÉ to extend rather than discontinue the Angelus programme broadcast daily at noon and 6pm on radio and television.

The Angelus appears to be experiencing a surprise political love-in at the moment.

The Fine Gael move comes just a week after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin used a Dáil intervention to criticise those putting RTÉ under pressure to drop the programme.

Perhaps ironically, the Fine Gael debate will take place at a summer school dedicated to former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald, the leader of the party who is most identified with steering Fine Gael away from Christian democracy towards social democracy.

As well as calling on RTÉ to continue to broadcast the Angelus, the proposed motion wants the programme to be extended to two minutes. Delegates will also be asked to support a call for the Angelus to be made available online via the RTÉ Player and for the national broadcaster to have a weekly omnibus episode of the Angelus.

The Angelus has been a regular feature on RTÉ for many decades. It has frequently provoked the ire of aggressive secularists who want the programme to be discontinued. However, people of all religious faiths and none have spoken out in favour of the item and RTÉ head of religious programming Roger Childs has vowed that the Angelus is here to stay.