Tuesday 16 January 2018

If Irish public won't pay for RTÉ, it will quickly become obsolete

RTÉ boss Dee Forbes
RTÉ boss Dee Forbes
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The hullabaloo about the gender pay gap in RTÉ follows the publication of comparable data by BBC. The 56th annual report discloses that cash-strapped RTÉ reported a deficit in 2016 of €19.7m from total revenue of €337.3m on top of a preexisting cumulative deficit of €15.1m.

The Irish public seems far less ready to support our national broadcaster than the British public is to support theirs. Some 76pc of the cost of running the BBC is financed by £3.7bn (€4.1bn) in licence fee revenue collected from 25.5 million licence holders, with relatively little incidence of non-compliance, or licence fee evasion. Some 53pc of the cost of running RTÉ is financed by €179m of licence fee revenue collected from only 75pc of the households in the State - a revenue quantum, in the case of RTÉ, that declined by over €4m since 2015.

We were persuaded that Aer Lingus, the national airline, and a plethora of other commercial State companies were not indispensable to the vitality and growth of our society. Aer Lingus was sold to a foreign buyer on the grounds that it enjoyed inadequate economies of scale to remain viable as an independent entity. Passenger traffic into and out of the State has not reduced as a consequence of its ownership by a London-based conglomerate.

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