Business Irish

Monday 20 November 2017

'It's not practical' - RTE's new director general moves to distance herself from 'double licence fee' comments

  • Ms Forbes stresses she's not calling for doubling of fee
  • RTE must 'adapt or die' - Dee Forbes
  • Said licence fee 'incredible value for money'
  • RTE Two television service to be 'assessed'
  • 2FM is helping fulfill RTE's remit to 'younger demographic'
  • Production of 'Fair City' will stay in-house
  • Does not rule future sales of lands at Montrose

Dee Forbes, Director General of RTE. Photo: David Conachy
Dee Forbes, Director General of RTE. Photo: David Conachy

Jennifer O'Brien

RTÉ’s Director Dee Forbes has moved to distance herself from this morning’s comments relating to doubling of the licence fee.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio this morning, Ms Forbes suggested a doubling of the licence fee would still represent great value for money.

However, Forbes has stressed that she’s not calling for a doubling of the fee because “it’s not practical”.

Speaking to independent.ie, Forbes said: “What I was saying was that the licence fee here in Ireland is incredible value at 40 cent a day. "The breadth of value and programming of everything that goes out from RTÉ every day for 40 cent a day is incredible. A cup of coffee here in the canteen is €1.60...

“What I was saying was that it’s good value - it is more in other markets - it was really around value…

“If it was doubled, would it be good value? Of course it would! But I’m not for one minute calling for a doubling of a licence fee because it’s not practical.”

Forbes said that her main point during the chat with O’Rourke was that there needs to be changes made in relation to tackling unpaid licence fees.

“On the interview this morning, I was outlining what needs to happen is greater efficiency in the licence fee collection method,” she said.

“We have €40-50m being lost every year and that’s money that’s not coming to us and not to the creative sector here in Ireland and that’s a great shame.

“What I’m saying we need to do is concentrate on reforming the licence fee collection - that’s where we need to go.”

#HaveYourSay: Do you think the TV licence is worth €320 annually?

RTE's new director general thinks the licence fee should be double current price

Speaking on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Wednesday afternoon, Forbes said:

"As you rightly point out, salaries have been reduced by up to 40pc - we have committed as an organisation to keep those salaries in check.

"Those salaries are about 1pc of RTÉ's total cost base. Our top talent is no longer the only talent in Ireland, and to ensure that you have strong voices and faces of the organisation, talent is important.

"These people work incredibly hard for us. It was the right thing to do to reduce their salaries. We have to keep that in check as we go through the changes."

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