RTÉ scandal hits TV licence fee renewals, shocking new figures confirm 7 months ago

RTÉ scandal hits TV licence fee renewals, shocking new figures confirm

Figures suggest it will lead to a "serious funding crisis".

There was been a significant drop in the number of households renewing their licence fee in the wake of the RTÉ scandal this month.

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The figures represent a loss of nearly €1 million in income - a drop of about 30%, according to a report from Extra.ie.

New figures show that the number of TV licences issued in the first week of July compared to the same time last year has dropped from 15,432 to 11,241 issued this month.

Within those July 2022 numbers, 13,504 were renewals and 1,928 were first-time licence buyers.

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Image via Rolling News.

RTÉ scandal hits licence fee renewals, new statistics confirm.

The vast majority of these 15,432 households would have been due to pay another €160 in the first week of this July. However, only 10,076 did.

Brendan Griffin, who sits on the Oireachtas board for Media and obtained the figures, said that the considerable drop in paid fees will lead to a "serious funding crisis" for the national broadcaster.

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"RTÉ and the minister will need to put in place a contingency plan now to mitigate against the possible effects of continued revenue loss.

“It’s obvious that a significant proportion of the population have lost confidence in the national broadcaster due to recent scandalous revelations."

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Licence fee reforms have been suggested

The €160 fee has been a point of major contention since the RTÉ payments scandal gripped the country last month. Many threatened to withhold their fee as the news of Ryan Tubridy's secret payments rocked the national broadcaster, leading to more issues arising from the cracks and plunging them into crisis.

Reforms to the fee have been strongly suggested, with The Irish Independent revealing that the government will likely look to bring in a new "broadcasting charge" collected by the Revenue Commissioners.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this week that he will "continue to pay the TV licence fee and would encourage other people to do so as well."

Speaking in Brussels last night, the Taoiseach continued, "Not just because it’s the law, but also because it is used to fund public service broadcasting, and that goes beyond RTÉ and funds a lot of the media production and broadcasting that we all value, whether it’s sports or children’s programming, Irish language programming, music — all those things that really have nothing to do with the recent controversy."

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