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Irish Lawmakers Vote to Allow Abortion, Part of Landmark Liberal Shift

By ED O’LOUGHLIN

The vote in the Parliament’s lower house came seven months after voters repealed a constitutional ban on abortion. The upper house is expected to vote soon.

Facing Brexit Defeat, Theresa May Turns to Damage Control

By STEPHEN CASTLE

With a crucial vote in Parliament looming on Dec. 11, the odds are stacked against the prime minister. At this point, a narrow loss may seem like a win.

Profile: The New Booker Prize Winner Who May Never Write Again

By ALEX MARSHALL

Anna Burns, who for the last four and a half years has suffered from debilitating back pain and spent much of that time relying on state benefits, talks about the future.

In Ireland, Bid to Restore Birthright Citizenship Gains Ground

By ED O’LOUGHLIN

The public has shown overwhelming support for granting citizenship rights to anyone born in Ireland, but the government is opposing a bill to make this law.

U.K. β€˜Coup’ Against Theresa May Falters. For Now.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

Hard-line, pro-Brexit Conservatives thought they could force a confidence vote against the prime minister. Then, embarrassingly, their support melted away.

Scott Fenton joins Eleven Sports UK and Ireland

By Robert Briel

Scott Fenton will join Eleven Sports’s UK and Ireland team as Head of Marketing and Communications.

With Eleven Sports’ entry into the UK and Ireland, Fenton will be responsible for leading customer acquisition, brand development and fan first positioning, working closely with rights holders to increase content opportunities and affiliates in Eleven’s open approach to distribution.

Fenton brings with him great experience from UFC where he successfully led the international marketing and brand strategy across EMEA, focusing on growing the fan base and monetising audiences via key touch points including brand, affiliate, social and events.

Prior to UFC, Fenton was at the NBA where he led the broadcast marketing strategy, and ESPN where he helped to drive the fan engagement strategy.

“Scott’s knowledge and experience of business to consumer communications as well as his background at both a broadcaster and rightsholders makes him the perfect person to lead our Marketing team in the UK and Ireland.” said Danny Menken, Group Managing Director Eleven Sports.

“At Eleven Sports everything we do is with the fan at the heart, always trying to find new ways to create value for them. Scott will be the perfect person to drive this and we are very happy to have him on board.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Eleven as they embark on their journey into the UK & Ireland market.” said Scott Fenton, Head of Marketing and Communications Eleven Sports UK and Ireland.

“What Eleven has achieved across a number of international markets in such a short space of time is very impressive, and I look forward to continuing the success story, strengthening the platform’s position as a major player in the UK & Ireland.”

Fries: Ireland will prosper after Brexit

By Julian Clover

Ireland will do well regardless of the outcome of Brexit, according to Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

Speaking at the company’s annual Overseas Board Meeting in Dublin, where Liberty runs the Virgin Media cablenet and the soon to be rebranded TV3, Fries said: “I don’t believe there will be a hard Brexit, but Ireland has done a great job of diversifying its exports over the years. In many ways it could become a magnet for companies looking for an English-speaking launchpad into Europe. Of course, issues around the border could become complex and challenging but I still feel great about Ireland under any scenario. I still feel it will be a lot smoother than many anticipate.”

Within Ireland itself, Fries described the Irish regulatory regime as generally positive. “We quite like the regulatory environment here in Ireland”, he said. “The ability to integrate TV with distribution is very powerful. The mobile market is very stable and there are no access issues to speak of. On balance, we would favour deregulation over more regulation, however. For example, if Eir made the case they were over-regulated we would probably support them on that. Our experience in Europe over the past 10 to 15 years is that when you reduce regulation and unleash companies to compete against each other that’s when the magic happens.”

TV3 will take the Virgin Media TV brand on August 30. “Now is the right time to rebrand”, said Mr Fries. “We are doing it from a position of strength and all of the people in TV3 are hugely enthusiastic about it.”

Liberty bought the loss-making TV channel in 2015; it now turns a profit.

“The success of TV3 is due to the talented people in there as well as to the capital we have invested”, Mr Fries added. “The €10 to €15 million capital investment is small in comparison to the €1 billion we have invested in Ireland over the years but is still significant.”

Virgin is also launching a dedicated sports channel for the Irish market that will feature UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Six Nations Championship, international football matches, and live racing.

Fries: Ireland will prosper after Brexit

By Julian Clover

Ireland will do well regardless of the outcome of Brexit, according to Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries.

Speaking at the company’s annual Overseas Board Meeting in Dublin, where Liberty runs the Virgin Media cablenet and the soon to be rebranded TV3, Fries said: “I don’t believe there will be a hard Brexit, but Ireland has done a great job of diversifying its exports over the years. In many ways it could become a magnet for companies looking for an English-speaking launchpad into Europe. Of course, issues around the border could become complex and challenging but I still feel great about Ireland under any scenario. I still feel it will be a lot smoother than many anticipate.”

Within Ireland itself, Fries described the Irish regulatory regime as generally positive. “We quite like the regulatory environment here in Ireland”, he said. “The ability to integrate TV with distribution is very powerful. The mobile market is very stable and there are no access issues to speak of. On balance, we would favour deregulation over more regulation, however. For example, if Eir made the case they were over-regulated we would probably support them on that. Our experience in Europe over the past 10 to 15 years is that when you reduce regulation and unleash companies to compete against each other that’s when the magic happens.”

TV3 will take the Virgin Media TV brand on August 30. “Now is the right time to rebrand”, said Mr Fries. “We are doing it from a position of strength and all of the people in TV3 are hugely enthusiastic about it.”

Liberty bought the loss-making TV channel in 2015; it now turns a profit.

“The success of TV3 is due to the talented people in there as well as to the capital we have invested”, Mr Fries added. “The €10 to €15 million capital investment is small in comparison to the €1 billion we have invested in Ireland over the years but is still significant.”

Virgin is also launching a dedicated sports channel for the Irish market that will feature UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Six Nations Championship, international football matches, and live racing.

Ireland’s TV3 becomes Virgin Media Television

By Julian Clover

TV3 Group is to rebrand as Virgin Media Television from the end of August.

TV3, 3e and be3, will become as Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Three with Virgin Media Player, the new name for the group’s on-demand broadcast player.

At the same time a brand new sports channel, Virgin Media Sport, will launch for Virgin Media customers in the Irish Republic.

Tony Hanway, Group CEO Virgin Media Ireland said; “This move sees us strengthen our position as Irelands leading connected entertainment provider. Bringing together our Broadband and Broadcasting networks under the unique Virgin Media brand is an exciting development for our viewers, our customers and everyone in Team Virgin Media.”

Virgin Media Television will air over 450 top-level football matches in the coming season including UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League as well as Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2020. There will also be exclusive coverage of the NatWest 6 Nations and the Heineken Champions Cup Rugby.

A new nightly 8pm news bulletin will be presented by Claire Brock and new Irish drama Blood is also in development featuring Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar.

Viewers will see the change on August 30, 2018 when the new identities go to air.

Virgin Ireland reaches broadband milestone

By Julian Clover

Virgin Media Ireland says its fibre broadband network has now passed more than 900,000 premises, with a further due to be built.

The milestone was marked by Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten TD at a presentation in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.

“Broadband is an essential service for our society and economic growth and Virgin Media has been at the forefront of fibre broadband investments in Ireland,” said Naughten. “This investment is helping us to address our European digital agenda targets, stimulate healthy competition in the sector while benefiting families, customers and businesses in towns and cities throughout the country.”

Over the past two years Virgin’s Project Lightning has helped increase the cablenet’s footprint by 100,000 new homes and businesses. It’s expected to reach 1 million homes within the next two years.

“The multi-million euro investment we have made in Arklow and Wicklow town brings Ireland’s fastest broadband network to these two vibrant and growing towns,”said Tony Hanway, CEO, Virgin Media. “Households connecting to Virgin Media will benefit from Ireland’s fastest broadband and in-home Wi-Fi, with speeds reaching 360Mbps.”

The specific build in Arklow and Wicklow has involved a €10 million local investment in Virgin Media’s high capacity network in the towns including the laying of some 75 kilometres of fibre and the establishment of free public Wi-Fi services in each town.

Virgin Media acquires Casey Cablevision

By Julian Clover

One of Ireland’s last remaining independent cable operators has been acquired by Virgin Media.

Casey Cablevision, a regional cable operator based in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, has been acquired by Virgin Media for an undisclosed purchase price.

Established by the Casey family in 1979, Casey Cablevision provides pay-TV, high speed broadband and phone services to over 2,000 customers in Dungarvan and surrounding areas.

Paul Farrell, Vice President of Commercial at Virgin Media Ireland said: “The Casey family were true pioneers of the cable industry in Ireland, they were the first to invest in fibre optic cabling which allowed them to offer high speed broadband to customers in the South East when the provision of such services was a distant dream for Irish consumers and businesses.”

The acquisition is subject to competition and regulatory approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Energy, over the coming months.

Virgin Media Ireland adds UKTV Play

By Robert Briel

Virgin Media Ireland is adding UKTV Play to its catalogue of catch up services.

UKTV channels Dave, W, Gold and Alibi are now available through Virgin Media Ireland’s On Demand platform, making over 1,000 additional hours of catch up TV available to its customers.

“Once again, Virgin Media is pulling out all the stops when it comes to giving our customers the best value entertainment packages possible with the launch of UKTV Play on our Virgin Media On Demand platform,” said Paul Farrell, VP of Virgin Media Ireland.

“As well as having exclusive access to UKTV Original shows, Virgin Media customers will now be able access their favourite classics, such as Only Fools and Horses and The Good Life, as well as hit shows including, Doctor Who and Storage Hunters.

“With over 1,000 hours of TV from the four UKTV channels being added to our On Demand service, there will be no shortage of finding something to watch if you’re a Virgin Media customer.”

Richard Williams, general manager, UKTV Play said: “It’s exciting to be launching UKTV Play on Virgin Media Ireland as it marks another step forward in the growth of the service. We welcome the partnership with Virgin Media Ireland and are delighted that viewers can now watch Dave, W, Gold and Alibi shows anytime, anywhere.

“We are continuing to invest in both our on demand services and our original programming, and preview new shows on UKTV Play. The first of these for Virgin Media Ireland customers will be brand-new UKTV Original series, Eat Your Heart Out With Nick Helm, which will exclusively preview on UKTV Play a week before being shown on Dave.”

Virgin Ireland introduces β€˜no strings contracts’

By Julian Clover

Virgin Media Ireland is introducing short term contracts covering just a 30-day span.

The new offer puts the cable network on a par with Sky’s Now TV service. It covers both TV and broadband services from €20 a month.

Paul Farrell, Vice President Virgin Media said: “The traditional TV and broadband packages are no longer working for millennials which is why at Virgin Media we’ve ripped up the rulebook when it comes to contracts with the launch of our new no strings attached 30 day broadband and TV offer.”

“Not everyone can, or wants to be tied down with long term contract for their broadband and TV service which is why we’ve designed this flexible offer specifically to meet the streaming and content needs of the ‘on-demand’ generation”.

Customers will receive the full Virgin Media service, as per their subscription, including on demand and broadband speeds of 240 mbps.

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