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RTE food and booze bill soars to €211,000

CASH-STRAPPED RTE has significantly increased its spending on alcohol and refreshments, splashing out €211,000 last year.

Montrose bosses spent an average of €677 on drinks and food per episode shown in 2012 despite the broadcaster's multi-million euro deficit.

The overall bill for alcohol and refreshments ran to €211,338, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.

This is an 18pc increase on the 2011 bill, which totalled €179,551.

Reception

The food and drink is purchased to entertain studio guests and members of the public in the station's audience reception and green room.

"These are holding areas for all RTE studio programming for studio audience, and guests and contributors respectively," RTE said.

The broadcaster last night defended the increase in spending on food and drink.

"The increase in cost over the two years is a reflection of a different mix of programmes during 2012 and the corresponding audience size and number of studio contributors," said a spokeswoman.

RTE refused to release information about its suppliers, saying the data were "commercially sensitive".

Meanwhile, figures released to the Herald show the station has cut its spend on cosmetics.

RTE has a fully stocked beauty studio where presenters get their hair and make-up done before going on air.

Some €142,238 was spent on this last year, down from €171,749 in 2011.

The money was spent on "hairdressing services, hairdressing and make-up products and other make-up tools and consumables", according to the broadcaster.

Independent TD Finian McGrath said the public are "sick and tired" of the sums being spent.

"These sums are deeply shocking. Do RTE bosses realise how broke the station is? They are just not acceptable in the current climate and the station must review the amount of money it spends on areas such as alcohol," he said.

"RTE has still not regained the public's trust after the scandals and crises it has gone through in recent months.

"Taxpayers' money gets pumped into RTE every year and people are just sick and tired of seeing this out-of-control spending."

noconnor@herald.ie


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