Friday 14 December 2018

11,693 people taken to court for not having a TV licence

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Gordon Deegan

An Post took court proceedings against 11,693 people last year for not having a television licence.

New figures provided by Communications Minister ­Denis Naughten show that over the past five years An Post has taken 64,272 people to court over non-payment of the €160 TV licence fee.

Numbers brought to court by An Post peaked in 2013 when proceedings were taken against 14,307 people.

The numbers taken to court last year was a slight drop on the 11,994 against whom court action was taken in 2016.

In his written Dáil reply to Sinn Féin TD Maurice ­Quinlivan, Mr Naughten said: "Bringing people to court is a last resort and only carried out where all other means have failed."

An Post is charged with the issuing of TV licences and also with the enforcement of the current licence fee regime.

"An Post makes every effort to bring evaders into the ­licensed pool and a ­considerable amount of time and resources are spent in dealing specifically with this issue," Mr Naughten said.

"An Post concentrates its initial efforts on getting people to buy the licence when due and by following up with a series of reminder notices and inspector visits."

Last week, in its new five-year strategy document, RTÉ stated that "the inefficient licence fee system should be reformed" and that would allow for an increase in public funding levels for the benefit of the entire Irish media sector.

The national broadcaster said 15pc of people evade the license and that if these people were forced to pay, there would be "significant scope for reform without any increase in the licence fee".

Irish Independent

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