RTÉ Access Services

RTÉ is committed to the provision of Access Services across all content and genres.

RTÉ is regulated in its delivery of Access Services by The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).  Click here for BAI’s Access Rules 2019.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 makes a number of provisions in respect of rules to be made by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to promote the understanding and enjoyment of programmes by persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, persons who are blind or partially sighted and persons who are hard of hearing and are partially sighted.

Ensuring the quality of our Access Services is hugely important to RTÉ. As part of his role as point of contact for representative groups and overseeing RTÉ’s policy and strategy for access services, RTÉ’s Head of Access, Kevin Burns convenes an annual meeting with a number of representative groups which is supported by a number of off site visits and feedback sessions around key issues.

RTÉ provides Access Services in the following ways:

  • Subtitles
  • Audio Description
  • Irish Sign Language (ISL)


Subtitling provides a transcript of a programme soundtrack.  Subtitles normally appear at the bottom of the screen, in time with the programme.  For some programmes such as sport, subtitles may appear at the top of screen so as not to obscure the score.

RTÉ offers an un5rivalled subtitling service to Irish audiences, with approximately 95% of programmes on RTÉ One and RTÉ2 subtitled during peak hours.

Subtitles can be selected as an option on your device.

On RTÉ Player, closed caption subtitles are available on most of the content broadcast on RTÉ One and RTÉ2, and on many of our Box Sets and exclusive series. You can enable captions by default in your preferences if you’re signed in to RTÉ ID. You can also activate it on an episode-by-episode basis without signing in to RTÉ ID, by selecting the ‘Speech’ icon in the video player.

Any issues or queries regarding subtitles can be emailed to subtitle@rte.ie.

Audio Description

RTÉ provides Audio Description for blind and visually impaired viewers.  The Audio Description (AD) track provides additional dialogue where gaps occur in the programme dialogue.  AD explains what is happening on screen, by describing scene changes, gestures, facial expressions, actions, etc.

On RTÉ Player, AD is available on some titles as an alternative audio track option. You can also activate it on an episode-by-episode basis without signing in to RTÉ ID, by selecting the ‘Speech’ icon in the video player.

Irish Sign Language

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the indigenous language of the deaf community in Ireland. The Irish Sign Language Act was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on 24th December, 2017.

Signing is presented either through the use of an interpreter within the programme or through the use of an interpreter superimposed in the corner of the screen.

RTÉ provides ISL service across a range of genres.  RTÉ has a dedicated ISL sign zone on RTÉ2 on Tuesdays (between 3.5 – 4 hours) as well as the existing sign zone on RTÉ One on Wednesdays. There has also been an increase in ISL output for young people, with new Irish Children’s series Wildkids and Drop Dead Weird, on RTÉ Junior and RTÉ2. This means that ISL is now available on RTÉ One and RTÉ2 every day.

RTÉ Player hosts a range of ISL titles. These feature an on-screen signer. To enable this functionality, you need to be signed in to your RTÉ ID. Once signed in, go to your user preferences and select – Settings > Irish Sign Language.

You contact the RTÉ Player team with any further queries through our Help section here.

For general queries about access to RTÉ’s services, please contact RTÉ’s Information Office on (01) 2083434 or at info@rte.ie.