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Martin rebukes FF MEP over call for a cut in TV licence fee



Billy Kelleher TD

Billy Kelleher TD

Billy Kelleher TD

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has been rebuked by his party leader Micheál Martin, who said he does not agree with calls for a cut in the RTÉ licence fee.

Mr Kelleher said RTÉ's coverage of EU affairs was "pitiful" and suggested the €160 licence fee should be reduced.

"As MEPs we try to do what we can along with EU institutions to inform the public," he said. "RTÉ as the public service broadcaster must also play its role."

Writing on Twitter, Mr Kelleher also noted he had met RTÉ's Europe editor Tony Connelly.

RTÉ News's managing director Jon Williams said Mr Kelleher's comments were "bizarre" and "disappointing".

Mr Kelleher clarified he was not criticising Mr Connelly but rather RTÉ's coverage of EU issues.

Mr Martin said the licence fee should not be cut despite Mr Kelleher's call for such action and that Fianna Fáil's position on that had been consistent in recent years.

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty accused Mr Kelleher of linking political coverage to a cut in the licence fee.

"Public Service Broadcasting, and indeed a free media, are critical components to any democratic society," she said.

Irish Independent