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RTE staff fear axe of regional outposts

RTE journalists fear the cash-strapped broadcaster will shut several of its regional offices.

Just weeks after the closure of the London bureau was greeted with shock, offices such as Letterkenny, Sligo, Athlone, Waterford, Limerick, Castlebar and Dundalk are waiting to learn their fate. Only Cork and Galway are thought to be safe.

Staff fear they will have to relocate after years of building contacts in their regions.

Journalists such as south-east correspondent Damien Tiernan, midlands corresponded Ciaran Mullooly, Richard Dowling from the north east, Eileen Magnier from the west, and Cathy Halloran from Limerick have all become household names in their areas.

An RTE source told the Herald: "Whole swaths of the country could be left with little or no coverage of stories and events if the news-gathering operation becomes more Dublin-centred."

An RTE spokesman said the only closure announced to date has been the London one. "No other decisions have been made at this point," he added.

The London bureau is expected to close in September following the Olympics, while, in Dublin, sources say morale at the station is "horrendous".

RTE will make cuts of €25m in total, €15m from staff costs.