Tuesday 25 October 2016

RTÉ 'facing serious funding battle' as broadcaster considers selling Montrose site

Published 04/06/2016 | 02:30

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes
RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes

RTÉ is faced with a long-term funding battle, new Communications Minister Denis Naughten has been warned.

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Briefing documents for the new minister outline how the broadcaster is dealing with a series of challenges, including a decision on whether to sell its Montrose site in Donnybrook.

The report says a priority for 2016 is "to address the long-term, sustainable funding of the Irish broadcasting sector and, in particular, the position of public sector broadcasting".

It added: "RTÉ is in a constrained financial position and its ability to undertake any meaningful capital expenditure in the future will be challenging."

It notes the need for a stronger clampdown on TV licence fee dodgers, which is estimated to cost €40m.

The minister is also warned that the issue of 'free licences' for pensioners and some social welfare recipients needs to be reviewed.

The Department of Social Protection funds the licences through a €52m payment every year. That figure is down from €57m in 2013.

At the same time, the number of people receiving 'free licences' has been rising, but "the 'pot' of TV licence monies has not benefited accordingly and, in fact, has lost revenue".

Irish Independent

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