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The outgoing coalition parties of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats called for the establishment of an Irish language television station in their 1989 manifestos.

The transmitter was built at a cost of IR£4,000 through donations from local Gaeltacht communities.

Very significant assistance in non-monetary terms comes from RTÉ which is required to provide over 360 hours of programming annually at no cost to TG4. Their aim, initially, was to show one hour of Irish-language programming each night, increasing to two hours by 1999.

Initial criticisms of the planned station came from journalist Kevin Myers who derided Tna G as a white elephant, calling it 'Telefís De Lorean', in a reference to the ill-fated De Lorean Motor Company.

In 1972, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (Rna G) was set up to provide Irish-language radio services across the country.

All radio and television services provided by RTÉ provided some Irish-language programming.

In 1969, Lelia Doolan, Jack Dowling and Bob Quinn published Sit down and Be Counted, a book describing their campaign for a separate Irish-language television service.

Bob Quinn is a maverick film director who produced many documentaries and fiction films through the Irish language on limited budgets, including the first Irish-language feature film Poitín starring Niall Tóibín, Cyril Cusack and Donal Mc Cann.

The PDs also looked for the setting up of what they called "Teilifís na Gaeltachta".