Sunday 25 March 2018

RTE's empty purse proves a fool and other people's money are soon parted

The national broadcaster should stop blaming everyone else for its financial woes and finally learn to live within its means

RTE campus (Stock photo)
RTE campus (Stock photo)

Eilis O'Hanlon

Father Ted had a catch-all answer to every religious controversy: "That would be an ecumenical matter." Working for RTE is a bit like that too. Every crisis in Irish broadcasting is greeted with the same simple formula: "That would be a public funding matter."

Before stepping down earlier this year, RTE's outgoing director general Noel Curran once again warned that disaster would strike unless more money was forthcoming. Now it seems that it has.

Two weeks ago, the Government reportedly told RTE that it wouldn't be getting a licence-fee increase. Suddenly, RTE comes out and declares that staff might have to take career breaks in 2017 in a further bid to cut costs. Presumably if that doesn't work either, they'll be forced to put a gun to a kitten's head and demand: "Cough up, suckers, or Tiddles get it."

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