RTÉ 'insolvent' by early 2024 without government funding, says Kevin Bakhurst
"We've done various scenarios."
RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst has dropped a shocking update on the future of the national broadcaster, revealing that it could be insolvent by next Spring, without additional funding by the government.
Speaking in the Dáil this week, Bakhurst told the Public Accounts Committee that RTÉ is facing a loss of between €10-12 million in 2023, which could rise to over €20 million by the end of the year.
It was also revealed that the broadcaster has a cash reserve of around €68 million and has borrowed €65 million of its €100 million borrowing limit.
Speaking about when the cut-off point would be for government support to come through, Bakhurst said, "We've done various scenarios. We need it by early spring next year. But I understand the timetable is earlier than that."
Asked if RTÉ would be insolvent by that point, the director general replied: "Yes, and I've made that point. We are managing our cash as carefully as we can because we have a responsibility to do that for that reason.
"If we didn't get this cash, we would run out of cash, that's for sure."
Licence fee drop-off a major element of RTÉ's losses
RTÉ have experienced major financial issues since the fallout of the payments scandal which ripped through the broadcaster, originated with discrepancies in then-outgoing Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy's salary.
The crisis has since deepened with many across the country refusing to pay their licence fee in an ever-increasing distrust of the organisation.
The broadcaster has reported losses and heightening figures of unpaid licence fees month-on-month since the fallout began earlier in the year.
In Thursday's meeting, Bakhurst said that licence fee payments were down by 39% last week.
RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst has told PAC that the trend of licence fee payments is down 30%, adding that the payments last week were down 39% | Read more: https://t.co/f0CEwvYR1Y pic.twitter.com/ryMoCW9BRc
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 12, 2023
Selling parts of Montrose a possibility, says Kevin Bakhurst
In his opening statement to the Oireachtas, Bakhurst said that a complete sale of the RTÉ campus in Donnybrook is unlikely, however putting parts of it up for sale is still a possibility.
"Among the [financial remodeling] elements being explored is the sale of more of the campus," he said. "An issue that I know several of you have expressed an interest in.
"We are awaiting more up-to-date valuations but early indications are that a complete sale of the Donnybrook campus is unlikely and the repurposing of the current site will not be without challenges and significant costs."
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