Wednesday 19 June 2019

Law to clamp down on TV licence dodgers

Communications Minister Alex White
Communications Minister Alex White
John Downing

John Downing

Legislation to clamp down on television licence dodgers will be cleared by Government before the summer, Communications Minister Alex White has said.

Some 15pc of revenue - or more than €25m - is lost each year and the Government now plans to give the licence collectors, An Post, access to the records of multi-channel television providers, like Sky and UPC, to catch non-payers.

But Mr White has also signalled that RTÉ, as the public service provider, will continue to get the lion's share of the licence revenue. He has again argued that giving a large share of the money to commercial radio and television would not help anyone in the longer term.

"I've never seen a convincing argument for this. The idea that you have the licence fee spread so thinly across the public and private sector would effectively mean that the licence would not do what it was supposed to do, that is fund public service programming," the Communications Minister said. He added that he did not accept commercial broadcasters' arguments that RTÉ "was unfairly cosseted and helped crowd out other broadcasters."

Mr White, a Labour TD who worked for many years as an RTÉ producer, said ways must be found to help private operators.

Irish Independent

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