An Post defends record of licence fee collections
An Post has defended its record of TV licence collections after Richard Bruton announced plans to put collections out to tender - stating it raised €166m last year.
In 2018 An Post said it achieved TV licence sales revenue of €166m on behalf of the Department of Communications after sales of TV licences rose to sale of 1,038,986.
"This represents a 1pc increase on the prior year and an additional €2m revenue for the department," an An Post spokesman said.
But with Mr Bruton's plans to put the contract out to tender, it is now possible An Post could lose this vital income stream.
The State-owned postal provider released figures to the Irish Independent showing in 2017 it raised €1.027m in collections, €1.019m in 2016, €1.018m in 2015, €1.018m in 2014, €1.013m in 2013 and €1.003m in 2012.
A spokesman said: "The television licence contract is an important part of An Post's business strategically, a key facet of our public service role and an essential income stream for our postmasters and the national Post Office network.
"An Post has long argued that the contract needs to be longer term than the current annual renewal to allow for investment into databases and IT to facilitate more efficient collection.
"The 2018 evasion rate was 12.83pc, down from 14.1pc in the prior year. This 1.27pc improvement demonstrates An Post's commitment and focus in growing licence sales in a very challenging market rife with difficult conditions, many of which are outside the control of An Post."
An Post described licence fee collection as a "difficult and complex task" due to the fact the TV licence is a "voluntary tax".
"Achieving a compliance rate of 87pc under current conditions is a credit to An Post's licence collection team," it said. "We await the details of the planned tender which is due later this year."