This paper employs the Irish language media to argue for a normative ideal of public access using the concept 'public sphere'. Public sphere as an ideal type contains a democratic potential which allows for universal participation in the formation of public opinion. Two problems exist with the public sphere as a concept in so far as the ideal does not correspond to the reality. On the one hand, it can be argued that the market dominates the public sphere and hampers the democratic, spontaneous and autonomous formation of public opinion. On the other, it can also be argued that the individual is a consumer, resulting in a citizenry which fails to engage in rational critical discourse which is central to democracy.