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Taxpayers foot €75k bill for RTE nature show

THE taxpayer forked out tens of thousands of euro for a nature series on RTE.

An RTE programme showcasing Ireland's best nature walks and cycles was partly funded by taxpayers.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) paid €25,000 towards the production of the Tracks And Trails series, while Waterford County Council gave €50,000.

The OPW said it provided the money to raise awareness about the Phoenix Park, which was featured in one episode.

"The OPW contributed €25,000 to the production of RTE's programme Tracks And Trails as part of the [park's] 350 celebrations and also to raise awareness of the Phoenix Park," a spokeswoman said.

Broadcast on RTE 1, the current series was filmed in Ardmore in Waterford, Ballyheigue in Kerry, Blacksod Bay in Mayo, the Barrow in Carlow/Kilkenny and Dublin's Phoenix Park.

Councillors in Waterford were sharply critical of the €50,000 payment.

However, Kerry County Council said it did not pay any money towards the production costs of the footage shot in Ballyheigue. RTE Radio 1 presenter John Murray explored the Phoenix Park, the biggest city centre park in Europe.

Other episodes were filmed in Mayo and Carlow, but no response had been received from those local authorities at the time of writing.

Tracks And Trails is sponsored by a series of public bodies, including Failte Ireland, the OPW, Waterways Ireland and the Irish Sports Council.


RTE confirmed Tracks And Trails is an independent production on behalf of RTE. She said details of the production costs and contributions are commercially sensitive issues.

However,a spokeswoman said: "The programme is funded by a combination of RTE funding and that contributed by sponsors.

"It would be classified as a sponsored programme under the definitions contained in Broadcasting Authority of Ireland codes. There were a number of sponsors who made contributions to the production costs and these are all listed and credited on an end board of the programme."