Thursday 26 April 2018

RTE planned to put out old repeats for up to two years

Emma O’Driscoll on popular children’s show ‘The Den’
Emma O’Driscoll on popular children’s show ‘The Den’

Grainne Loughran

Repeats of existing in-house RTÉ children's TV shows were intended to be broadcast on the station throughout 2017 and into early 2018 - despite intentions to outsource department programming.

Chair of the RTÉ Trade Union Group (TUG), Shirley Bradshaw, said: "Staff that were briefed on the day on Young People's understood that during 2017, repeats of existing in-house productions would be transmitted.

"An intention which was clarified to the TUG was that the commissioning of new independent productions would start in June of next year, but wouldn't be broadcast until 2018".

Plans to outsource young people's programming have been postponed as it was revealed RTÉ management had not consulted their staff about the cut according to their agreement.

A spokesperson from RTÉ said "RTÉjr will remain on air; any such change would by its nature require a transition process, and production timelines would dictate the supply of new independent Irish commissions, however all current commissions would remain on air as would RTÉ's young people's news service, 'News2Day'.

"As previously confirmed, RTÉ has entered a formal process regarding the decision to fully invest its young people's programme budget in the independent sector."

According to puppeteer Ray Cuddihy, who plays Seamus the dog on popular children's programme 'Twigín', the Young People's team were told that in three weeks' time production was to stop in the young people's department and those on contracts would lose their positions.

Ms Bradshaw says that RTÉ had apologised for the way they told the staff but added she was still concerned about the way this had been told.

"There was no engagement with the union on this and the concern is this is just the tip of the iceberg and this is the thin edge of the wedge," she said.

"And if we allow this to proceed there is a risk that RTÉ in itself will just become a publishing house, a Channel 4 type of entity, and that wouldn't sit comfortably at all with public service users."

Irish Independent

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