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Sunday 22 October 2017

RTE runs up €65k rent bill at closed London office

RTE’s London office
RTE’s London office

Shane Hickey London

RTE has spent an estimated €65,000 in rent on empty offices in central London for the past nine months following the closure of its bureau there.

The 1,600sq ft of prime commercial real estate has not had another tenant since five staff were let go last year – and the national broadcaster still has a lease on the property.

RTE closed the bureau as part of a cost-cutting drive to reduce a deficit of €50m

The moved sparked the ire of the Irish community in Britain after it emerged a permanent correspondent would no longer be based in a country where there is a substantial Irish population.

Located in Millbank, around the corner from Westminster, the offices had been the London base for RTE since 1992 and were also used by a number of other broadcasters, including BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4. It is understood that RTE has another year left on the lease but has yet to secure a tenant.

A spokesman for the station said it would not be cost-effective to break the lease.

Divulge

"We hope and expect to finalise an agreement with a tenant this month," a statement said.

RTE refused to divulge the exact amount paid on the property, citing commercial sensitivities.

Sources within the television industry conservatively estimate the rent to have been around €65,000 for the nine months.

It is understood that the outstanding lease was one of the central points considered by RTE before the decision was taken to shut the bureau.

Irish Independent

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