Virgin Media Ireland I believe offer just ITV 3 and ITV 4 and I was told that sports coverage on both channels are blocked by Virgin Media due to "rights", however when Sky Ireland customers tune in those channels on their Sky box, they can view all sport without any blocking, racing, darts
I’m not sure the blocking goes on any more. When I was with them (four years ago now) it was the case, yes. But I’m led to believe it either doesn’t happen at all now or is much rarer. There was rarely sport on ITV3 in those days, of course.
Sky customers can see all those of course because the channels are free to air. Sky’s official line is that it has no control over what customers do with the Other Channels / Manual Tuning facility. There are now channels on the Irish EPG
, the Irish versions of which are encrypted (so that individual programmes may be blocked) but this can be circumvented easily by tuning the UK version via Other Channels/Manual Tuning.
I’ve no idea why BBC News Channel is not made available on Sky in Ireland, but I presume it’s becuase Sky may not want it (competing with Sky News) while the BBC don’t care either way. The fact that both BBC News Channel and BBC World News are available on Virgin is an oddity, but an even bigger one is that to this very day, the BBC News Channel is still labelled “BBC News 24” (albeit Horizon customers won’t see this because logos are used instead).
BBC News Channel is also available on the broadband TV providers of Vodafone Ireland and Eir TV, it is only Sky which does not have it on their EPG.
I understand why they wouldn't put BBC Parliament on it, minute ratings, even here in the UK, so it would be pointless. However BBC News would be a great channel to have on Sky EPG and they never bothered.
I had a response from the BBC on this once back in 2016 when I emailed about this on behalf of a family friend in Dublin, and they said that since Irish viewers can tune in all BBC television and radio stations on Sky boxes in Ireland, it was not "cost effective" to have BBC News on the EPG. I have a feeling Sky upped the cost of the channel number.
We have to remember, the only reason the BBC have channels on the Irish EPG of Sky is a joint venture between the BBC commercial arm, BBC Studios and Sky, so a money matter, sharing carriage money, and thus they decided not to bother putting it on the EPG.