Friday 19 July 2019

Revealed: RTÉ spent more than €1m in legal fees last year

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gabija Gataveckaite

The state broadcaster spent more than €1 million in legal fees last year, Independent.ie can reveal.

RTÉ spent €1,075,583 on legal costs in 2018, including fees paid for administrative costs, such as room hire.

The fees also included payments to barristers, law firms, speech transcribers and technical experts.

In documents released to Independent.ie under the Freedom of Information act, the broadcaster stated that it engages with a variety of legal experts.

“Like all large organisations, RTÉ engages a wide range of legal experts relating to various elements of its operations,” documents containing the figures stated.

“The legal costs paid for in 2018 included fees paid to barristers providing legal advice to RTÉ, payments for expert advice from several different law firms regarding various legal issues and administration fees such as room hire, stenographers, technical experts etc,” the documents added.

When contacted by Independent.ie, the state broadcaster did not have any further comment to make.

In response to the figures, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) stated that it will shortly begin its annual review of the broadcaster.

“The BAI is shortly due to commence its 2018 annual review of performance and public funding for RTÉ for the 2018 financial year, pursuant to section 124 of the Broadcasting Act 2009,” said a spokesperson for the BAI.

The regulator added that expenditure is one of the means of measuring performance.

“In conducting the review, expenditure generally is one of the range of matters considered in assessing performance and in deciding the BAI’s recommendations to the Minister in respect of the adequacy of public funding for the broadcaster,” added the spokesperson.

RTÉ is a public service broadcaster and it is funded by advertising and the annual TV license fee, which costs €160.

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