Friday 9 December 2016

RTE site sale: 'I'll wait to see what RTE board has to say' - Alex White

Published 22/04/2015 | 07:59

Back row, from left, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Derval O'Rourke, Leah Egan, (Fair City) Sorcha Furlong, (Fair City) Aisling Franciosi, (The Fall) front row from left, Kathryn Thomas (Operation Transformation and The Voice), Miriam O'Callaghan (Prime Time), Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love Hate) and Blathnaid NiChofaighpictured this afternoon at the launch of RTE 1's new season of programming at Montrose.
Back row, from left, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Derval O'Rourke, Leah Egan, (Fair City) Sorcha Furlong, (Fair City) Aisling Franciosi, (The Fall) front row from left, Kathryn Thomas (Operation Transformation and The Voice), Miriam O'Callaghan (Prime Time), Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love Hate) and Blathnaid NiChofaighpictured this afternoon at the launch of RTE 1's new season of programming at Montrose.
Alex White

Minister for Communications Alex White said he will not make a decision on the sale of RTE's site in Donnybrook until the board of the State broadcaster report to him in the summer.

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Speaking on RTE Radio One's 'Morning Ireland' programme earlier today, he told broadcaster Rachael English that he would not make any decision on the future of the site until the board report to him in several months' time.

English was interviewing the minister regarding a report into costs in RTE and asked whether the sale of broadcaster's site in Dublin 4 was on the agenda.

"There is a working group looking  at the site in Donnybrook as to the best use of it," he replied.

Read more here: TV licence dodgers face new crackdown  

"I don't think it necessarily involves selling it off although I wait to see what RTE has to say. There are other ways of leveraging an organisation has. It is quite a large site. It has quite a large footprint. Built I suppose back in the 1960s when the world was different and when the property market was different. But I'll wait to see what RTE tells me in the summer in terms of their study.

"I'm not going to prescribe this or that specific measures. A new board, I will expect them to come to me by the summer with their responses to many of the issues in this report."

Regarding the future of 2FM and whether it should be sold, the minister did not appear to be in favour of such a move and said that such a decision would have to be taken by RTE.

"Well I think what RTE would say is that 2FM is part of the package that the broadcaster offers to the broad audience so that there.

"You want to ensure you are satisfying an audience need right across the board and 2FM is part of that package that RTE has," he added.

Regarding salaries and costs at RTE, the minister said he appreciated that RTE had made major cuts to costs and were keeping them down.

Separately, Mr White told listeners the Government had decided to park the 'Broadcasting charge' for another time as it requires more debate and greater understanding.

Describing it as a "work in progress", he said the broadcasting charge would be a household charge in place of the TV licence fee and wouldn't be "device specific".

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