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RTÉ Receives €8.6M Increase in Funding From Budget 2019
11 Oct 2018 :
Ireland’s national broadcaster will receive additional annual funding of €8.6m in wake of the restoration of the television licence fund benefit.

The increase in funding is largely due to the free television licence fee paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to the Department of Communications, a cap which has been raised by €5m. Free television licences are received by roughly 430,000 households in Ireland as part of the household benefits package, mainly attributed to the older demographic. 

The cap increase on the television licence payment is a restoration of the €5m cut in Budget 2014, which the government has been attempting to reverse for the past two years. The remaining source of the increase in funding comes from switching a further portion of TG4’s funding from the licence fee back to direct exchequer funding.  

The increase comes in the wake of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s (BAI) recommendation at the start of October that RTÉ receive a €30m increase in annual funding and TG4 receive an added €6m in annual funding. The BAI conducted a five-year funding review of both RTÉ and TG4 and added that the urgency of RTÉs funding position meant that funding should be made available immediately. 

BAI Chairperson, Professor Pauric Travers, said:

"With regard to RTÉ and TG4, the BAI notes the significant changes that both PSBs (Public Service Broadcasters) have implemented to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in recent years.

"The BAI recognises also that both broadcasters have taken steps to meet current and future challenges. In this context, current levels of public funding are not sufficient to sustain the reach and impact of current provision, let alone allow the broadcasters to evolve in such a way as to adequately fulfil their statutory remit in serving Irish audiences.” 

This recommendation was submitted to Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications Climate Action and Environment; however TG4’s funding was maintained at its current level by the Minister in this budget. Minister Naughten said the Broadcasting Fund, which is administered by the BAI, would rise by €647,000 in 2019. This fund is used to encourage archive and audiovisual material preservation, as well as distributing funds to independent production companies for film and television programming commissioned by broadcasters. 

In total, the department’s allocation for broadcasting is up €9.5m (4%) on Budget 2018.

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