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TV licence compliance will fall until trust restored in RTÉ

18th July 2023 - Ciaran Cannon TD

The drop in sales and renewal of the TV licence fee will continue until public trust is restored in RTÉ, a Fine Gael TD has said.


Deputy Ciarán Cannon, Fine Gael’s Media spokesman, said the latest TV licence sales and renewal figures sourced by his party colleague Brendan Griffin from the Media Minister Catherine Martin are very worrying.


The Galway East TD said, “Today’s drop in TV licence fee revenue is a serious wake up call to RTÉ and our Government”.


“We need to act quickly in completely reforming the licence fee collection system,” Deputy Cannon said.


“In July 2021, my Fine Gael colleagues Richard Bruton TD, Senators Micheal Carrigy and Jerry Buttimer and I did an in-depth analysis on the future of public service media and made a submission to the Future of Media Commission.


“Included in that submission was a recommendation that we should replace the TV licence with a Public Service Media Charge on all households and business premises. This policy was adopted by Fine Gael’s Parliamentary Party.


“The charge would remain at €160 but with a properly structured collection system operated by the Revenue Commissioners, we would expect to see a €75m increase in revenue funds that would be used to safeguard the future of our public service media, something that is fundamental to the proper functioning of our democracy.


“In our submission, we made the case that our commercial radio sector and print media also have an important role to play in the future of public service media.


“This additional €75m in revenue would also allow us to extend support to journalists outside of RTÉ who also generate trustworthy content that is of value to our democracy, both local and national. In my own constituency, Galway Bay FM, Connaght Tribune, Tuam Herald and Galway Advertiser all play a vital role in that regard for all who live here. Long may this continue.


“Ultimately, this Fine Gael position was not adopted by Government. We are now in a crisis so let us use that as an opportunity to look at it again.


“Right now, our focus must be on restoring trust in RTÉ as an institution, but in parallel with that work we should be preparing to legislate for a new Public Service Media Charge.


“Not much good has arisen from the RTÉ controversy, but we can change that if we carry out deep reform and create a strong financial foundation for the future of public service media in Ireland,”

Deputy Cannon concluded.

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