TV3 chief executive David McRedmond has defended the network over accusations that ad breaks ruined their coverage of the Rugby World Cup.

Having been awarded the rights to the Six Nations between 2018 and 2021, at the expense of RTÉ, McRedmond said that ad breaks were necessary to provide a certain level of coverage.

“We have to run more ads than RTÉ certainly because we don’t get the licence fee,” McRedmond told RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime programme.

“There is a very clear difference.

“We deliver these matches free-to-air so viewers do not have to pay to see it. I wouldn’t make this about an issue between RTÉ and TV3, this is good for Irish broadcasting, it’s good for viewers.”

Despite criticism over the fact that TV3 shows 12 minutes of ads every hour compared to RTÉ’s six, McRedmond pointed out that this year’s Rugby World Cup coverage was far superior to that provided by the state broadcaster back in 2011.

“TV3 did something different to what RTE does,” he said.

“It’s important that viewers get fantastic coverage. The big difference, compared to the Rugby World Cup on RTÉ four years earlier, is RTÉ only showed 13 live matches. TV3 showed 48 matches live.

“In the previous World Cup, I doubt you would have seen that fantastic South Africa/Japan match which set the whole Rugby World Cup live.”