Business Irish

Sunday 16 June 2019

Bruton weighs NewERA review of RTE

Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Communications Minister Richard Bruton is considering requesting the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) division which provides financial and commercial advice on State bodies to conduct a fresh review of financial efficiencies at RTE.

NewERA carried out an extensive review of RTE in 2013 and made some radical recommendations, which ultimately led to the sale of eight acres of land at RTE's Donnybrook site for more than €100m. A spokesman for the Department of Communications said that consideration is being given "to asking NewERA to undertake an update on their 2013 report on RTE".

While the original report found that RTE had delivered financial efficiencies since the start of the crash, it did suggest another phase of deeper cuts if RTE's financial position did not improve.

This included ceasing some services, particularly those which already have commercial alternatives in the market.

Said the report: "Further cost-reduction measures which are likely to involve reducing/eliminating some services which would have to be considered in the context of RTÉ's public service remit ... in our view, further cost reduction measures would commence with a review of services which could otherwise be provided by the market."

At the time, it was believed that services such as 2fm and RTE 2 could come under pressure in such a scenario.

Material released to the Sunday Independent and other media earlier this month under the Freedom of Information Act show that a senior government adviser told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that a "radical rethink" at RTE could be required, instead of the organisation relying on increases in public funding.

RTE chairwoman Moya Doherty wrote him a letter stating that "much is now at risk".

In recent days, RTE managers have been briefed on possible cost-cutting with a new, more focused redundancy scheme one possible option. The previous scheme secured 160 redundancies.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business