Sunday 4 December 2016

RTE's empty purse proves a fool and other people's money are soon parted

The national broadcaster should stop blaming everyone else for its financial woes and finally learn to live within its means

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 18/09/2016 | 02:30

RTE CAMPUS: If RTE can compete with commercial television, then it should stop making excuses and hiding behind endless reports — and just get on with it. Photo: Tony Gavin
RTE CAMPUS: If RTE can compete with commercial television, then it should stop making excuses and hiding behind endless reports — and just get on with it. Photo: Tony Gavin

Father Ted had a catch-all answer to every religious controversy: "That would be an ecumenical matter." Working for RTE is a bit like that too. Every crisis in Irish broadcasting is greeted with the same simple formula: "That would be a public funding matter."

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Before stepping down earlier this year, RTE's outgoing director general Noel Curran once again warned that disaster would strike unless more money was forthcoming. Now it seems that it has.

Two weeks ago, the Government reportedly told RTE that it wouldn't be getting a licence-fee increase. Suddenly, RTE comes out and declares that staff might have to take career breaks in 2017 in a further bid to cut costs. Presumably if that doesn't work either, they'll be forced to put a gun to a kitten's head and demand: "Cough up, suckers, or Tiddles get it."

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