Sunday 25 June 2017

RTÉ to cut 300 jobs

Dee Forbes, Director General of RTE. Photo: David Conachy
Dee Forbes, Director General of RTE. Photo: David Conachy

Dearbhail McDonald and Ronald Quinlan

Up to 300 jobs are set to be lost over the next two years at RTÉ as the State broadcaster unveils a radical restructuring.

Also today, it has put almost nine acres of its lands in Donnybrook on the market and is looking for €75m.

The sale of the Montrose site, which represents just over a quarter of RTÉ's existing 32-acre campus, is expected to attract interest from a wide range of Irish and international developers and investors and is expected to exceed the guide price by a significant margin.

It is understood the proceeds will be used by RTÉ to reinvest in a new editorial structure that will see its news and current affairs division retained as a standalone division.

But other areas such as TV, radio and digital will be consolidated in whole or in part to serve an "all content" strategy.

The Irish Independent understands that between 200 to 300 jobs could be lost over a two-year period - about one in six of its total staff.

However, those losses are set to be offset by new hires of more than 80 to serve RTÉ's new content strategy at a time when the media industry is facing a number of challenges, including Brexit, and as digital becomes the primary source of news for consumers.

Last night, sources in RTÉ suggested the cuts will be made up of 250 voluntary redundancies and jobs moving to digital.

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes is due to meet with staff today to announce the restructuring plan. According to its 2015 Annual Report, RTÉ has 1,833 full-time equivalent jobs.

Ms Forbes told the Oireachtas communications committee late last year that Brexit was having "a direct impact" on RTÉ Media and said media organisations were under "very serious financial strain".

RTÉ projected losses of up to €20m in 2016, with staff bracing themselves for cuts.

Meanwhile, Independent News & Media, which publishes this newspaper, confirmed it was co-operating with an inquiry by the company law watchdog into matters relating to a proposed - but abandoned - acquisition of radio station Newstalk.

INM chief executive Robert Pitt made a complaint under new whistleblowing legislation to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in relation to the possible purchase.

Irish Independent

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