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Inspectors to get bonus for nabbing TV licence cheats

TV licence inspectors are now more likely to call to your home at weekends or late at night in a new bid to maximise fees.

The inspectors will also be in line for a bonus if they exceed the 2013 targets for collecting the €160 price of a licence.

A target of 1,005,000 licence sales is understood to have been set for this year, as figures show the number of TV licences sold directly by An Post continues to fall, reports said yesterday.

Inspectors will be working more hours at weekends and late on week nights in a bid to catch people outside working hours.

A new agreement between An Post and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) means that instead of clocking off at 5.30pm or 6pm, they will now work until 9pm and extra inspectors will be sent out on Saturdays.

Up to now, weekend inspections were only occasionally carried out.



Sean McDonagh, the CWU national officer, said the agreement would maximise revenue.

"Much of the work carried out by inspectors is now carried out by technology," he said.

"In an effort to keep people in employment, we negotiated for many of our indoor staff to work on the road. The new conditions will maximise revenue for the Government and the company.

"The target for the year and for the company is high. RTE needs the money and the Department of Communications needs money," he said.

"The bonus will only apply if inspectors manage to go over the national target. The value of the possible bonus can only be determined and negotiated once (the target) is reached."

The conditions were agreed before the introduction of the new broadcasting charge – for which homes without TVs would also be liable – and which is expected to replace the TV licence.

If an unlicensed set is found during a visit by an inspector, a prosecution will follow, which could result in a €1,000 fine for a first offence or €2,000 for a second or subsequent offence, according to the RTE website.

In 2012, 1,003,860 licences were sold, a fall of roughly 35,000 in two years.



A further 405,868 licences were issued by the Department of Social Protection, but a cap has been set on the lump sum the State would pay for these licences, according to figures provided to the Public Accounts Committee.

Total receipts for TV licences came to €215m in 2012, down from €217.7m in 2011 and €222.3m in 2010.