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29th Aug 2023

Government fear RTÉ bailout could reportedly cost €50 million after licence fee disaster

Simon Kelly

Further losses have been revealed for August.

An RTÉ bailout in October’s budget may cost as much as €50 million due to the severe drop in TV licence revenue from the public, according to the Irish Independent.

The government expected to pay somewhere in the region of €15 – €20 million in October’s budget, but now fear that those figures may more than double in the next weeks.

The Business Post also reported on the story on Sunday (August 27), with their sources noting a more reserved, but no less significant figure of €35 million needed for an RTÉ bailout.

That estimated amount would match what was sought by former RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes before the scandal took hold.

The refusal to pay TV licence fees by the public has had a significant impact on the broadcaster’s income in recent months. Faith has been lost in RTÉ by the taxpayers after the scandal around Ryan Tubridy’s payment led to a the revelation of several barter accounts.

Latest figures for the third week in August show a further loss of over €554,000 in revenue when compared to the same period in 2022. The total loss of revenue since the scandal broke two months ago is now €5m compared to the same period last year.

tv licence

Government minister urges public to pay TV licence fee

In the wake of a new interim report by accountancy firm Mazars last weekend, Minister Catherin Martin urged the public to continue to pay their licence fee.

The report from Mazars, who were appointed to carry out the audit by Martin, found “alarming gaps in internal policies, procedures and controls that existed in RTÉ”.

Speaking about the public’s reaction to the controversy surrounding RTÉ, the Minister Catherine Martin noted that it has “ultimately found expression in the numbers of people who have decided not to purchase a TV licence”.

While Martin said that the Government “understands the frustration and anger which people feel”, she also stated that not paying for a TV licence is “damaging public service broadcasting for us all”.

She added:

“I again emphasise the importance of paying for a TV licence to continue to support the access to impartial news and current affairs, the provision of drama and light entertainment, broadcasting of sporting events, and access to cultural, educational and factual content.

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