Everything Must Go [Updated]


From pic 3 : Secretary of the National Union of Journalist Seamus Dooley at RTÉ: this morning Dee Forbes, RTE Director General at The Late Late Show Gay Byrnes special last Tuesday night

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley spoke to Bryan Dobson about the RTÉ 200 job cuts leak to The Irish Times last night.

Mr Dooley described the manner in which RTÉ’s staff and workforce learned about the cuts via media reports as “shocking”.

This morning, Will Leahy who presents RTÉ GOLD from Limerick told his listeners:

“The service you’re listening to now will cease to exist…Today could be our last day. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be the 31st of December. All I know is what I read in the papers.”

From this morning’s interview…

Seamus Dooley: “As secretary of the NUJ, I’m not going to criticise any journalist for getting a good story. But the reality is that people are waking up to to, this morning, in Limerick, in digital services, finding out that their livelihood is under threat.

“And what I’m getting from staff on campus this morning is how can we trust these people to deliver a plan if they’re not even capable of delivering a message properly.”

Bryan Dobson: “What about the questions that you have about the plan itself. Because there are a lot of questions left unanswered, are there not?”

Dooley: “There are a huge amount of questions left unanswered and members of RTÉ, well all the trade unions, are caught between two abject failures. The failure of Government upon public service broadcasting and the failure, as admitted by the Director-General [Dee Forbes] herself this morning, the failure of executive management to deliver a plan.

“She has admitted here this morning that it has taken three years and the plan is not delivering. And the hames that has been made of this so far is proof of that. The reorganisation hasn’t worked.

“We were up for the plan. Remember that trade union group in RTÉ were the first workers in the public service to volunteer a pay cut. We have a document, guiding principles, which will, is the framework for all of the changes that can be delivered. Could we deliver it now? RTÉ have failed to implement changes using the existing collective agreements and I’m not going to listen to guff about agreements because they’re there.

“It’s up to management to manage – they haven’t been doing it.”

Dobson: “Key elements of this are that any redundancies will be voluntary so nobody is going to be make it compulsory to lose their job. The pay cuts will apply to the highest earners whether that be presenters or indeed at the executive level and there’s a pay freeze for the rest of staff.”

Dooley: “Well, first of all, we have, we only learned about this document through The Irish Times. Every proposal will be independently evaluated by an independent [inaudible] on our behalf. I’m very reluctant to take any promises at face value. We will absolutely interrogate them. I certainly welcome the statement in relation to voluntary redundancies.”I would say that I’m very worried about grand gestures. The DG herself admitted that the high pay issue, which can be a bit of a distraction really, is, would make an insignificant amount. So grand gestures like selling bits of art, or the board of RTÉ waving fees, they’re superficial.

“What we want and what we’ve been looking for for three years is the delivery of a plan which tells us the future of RTÉ.

“And one other thing I would say to your listeners is we represent what Gay Byrne used to call, the worker bees who keep the factory humming – low paid and who will be very hard hit by some of those…”

Dobson: “How concerned would you be that this plan mightn’t be enough. That if it’s not matched, as Dee Forbes seemed to be arguing earlier by reform of the licence fee, we’ll be back in the same situation in maybe just a couple of years time.”

Dooley: “I think the evidence is that redundancy packages of this type do not work. The proposals which RTÉ have implemented haven’t been enough and what we need is meaningful engagement which actually shows us the vision that RTÉ have in relation to what kind of public service broadcasting we want. So I would have a concern.

“And I would also worry about, I mean the atmosphere here is very poor. The moral is very low because since September, RTÉ have been engaged with what I refer to as ‘industrial relations striptease’ – where we get an odd email and an odd staff announcement, telling us ‘we’ll all be rooned said Hanrahan’ we have to do something’. Then they keep postponing and they postpone and then we read about it in this way.

“There is a big challenge facing us but there is also a challenge facing Government. We want public service broadcasting in Ireland, it must be paid for. It must be planned properly and that involves by both the executive of RTÉ and by Government.”

Dobson: “Right. Seamus Dooley from the NUJ thank you very much for that.”

Earlier on Morning Ireland, Director-General of RTÉ Dee Forbes said:

“It is regrettable but I think what’s also hugely important is that we sustain for the future. What’s most important in this conversation is that we sustain public service broadcasting.

“It’s never been a more important time. It’s never been more important to have that independent voice. So what we’re doing here is, is sort of changing, if you like, course and looking at the direction that it go in.”


Last night.

Via RTÉ:

The RTÉ Guide is for sale

RTÉ will close its current studio in Limerick in 2020; production of RTÉ lyric fm will move to Cork and Dublin

RTÉ will continue to provide a mid-west news service in Limerick

We will close the Digital Audio Broadcast network, as well as RTÉ’s digital radio stations (RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)

RTÉ Aertel will cease

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will transfer to the National Concert Hall

We will develop a new integrated media centre in Donnybrook, investing in new digital infrastructure

We need to reduce projected costs by €60 million over three years (2020-2023), in addition to the reduction of 23% delivered between 2008 and 2018

We need to reduce the fees paid to our top contracted on-air presenters by15%, in addition to the 30+% cuts as agreed in previous years

We need to reduce staff costs—we will consult with staff and unions on a number of initiatives, to include pay freeze, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits, work practice reforms

The Executive Board will take a 10% reduction in pay; the Board of RTÉ will waive its fees

We need to achieve a staff headcount reduction of c. 200 in 2020

RTÉ to cut jobs, pay and some services to address financial crisis (RTÉ)


RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said:

“The challenges in front of us are real. But RTÉ does have a plan, which we are confident can address many of the challenges we face and bring Ireland’s national public broadcaster to stability.

However, Government needs to act to ensure there is a future for public service media in Ireland. I am clear about what role RTÉ should play in Irish life, but I am also clear that we cannot do it unless Government fixes the TV Licence system. We shouldn’t be under any illusions; we are in a fight – a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland.”

“We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfil our remit, without immediate reform of the TV Licence system.”


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93 thoughts on “Everything Must Go [Updated]

      1. Charlie

        Indeed, but it’s watched by more eyeballs on this island than you’d believe. RTÉ spend almost 70% of its entire drama budget on its production.

      2. Johnny Keenan

        I don’t know why but I was looking at fair city the other day and I seen this one having a full scale row in the shop while holding 4 slice pans of Brennans bread. Is that product placement or is there a storm on the way? I’ll just have to keep tuning into RTE Incase I miss something.

      3. Tea And Brexits

        Who is responsible for this #FairCity crud? Brexit makes more sense than the Fair City plot lines. #katieinabox2 #virtuesignallinghell.

        I keep watching it in case acting breaks out.

  1. class wario

    RTE’s continued troubles are an obvious source of delight for many on the internet but I think this is a sorry sight. Public service broadcasting being stripped away and many good people (!) being turfed out to save a few quid and others reveling in it because they hate Ryan Tubridy or whoever (And he’ll be one of the last to really feel this lets be honest). All seems very shortsighed and spiteful.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      What I hear most from RTE-bashers, aside from the high salaries to their top staff, is the poor quality of their programming, tired agenda and the unstable RTE Player. Has RTE ever reached out to their audiences to survey customer satisfaction?

    2. GiggidyGoo

      Public Service broadcasting? Far from it. Its Government spin and withholding truth broadcasting. Its failure to ask politicians the questions that the public need answering.
      It’s a lame duck. Dee Forbes has failed. Her crying ‘Give us more money ‘ constantly instead of selling its advertising to make money shows her capabilities.

          1. A Person

            Really, that’s the worst case of spin ever. People smugglers – authorities seek 2 brothers from Monaghan called Murphy (UDA really?). Lunney – main suspect who issued the death warning has been identified by locals as a shinner (not UDA). If you are going to try to spin, at least include a modicum of truth. Otherwise you just look like the shinner idiot that you are. Hopefully I won’t receive a death treat for this post.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Sure that’s great, SOQ. I don’t need a passport anymore, just a smartphone and a facebook account to prove my nationality.
          That DUP/UDA fellow you refer to confirmed his nationality as British when he appeared in court.

      1. jimmyv

        I never get this. If it’s a Government propaganda machine, why doesn’t the government want to fund it?

        1. GiggidyGoo

          It does in a roundabout way. If you don’t pay the licence fee you can get fined and imprisoned. That, and the current attempt to introduce another tax on the home like the LPT.

        2. Cian

          The theory is that if RTE is NOT directly reliant on the current government for funding each year it can hold the government to account and report any failing without worrying. If the government change the funding model to fund it directly they could be accused of trying to influence the output.

          I suppose your question could be rephrased:
          If the government doesn’t fund it can it be deemed a Government propaganda machine?

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            Or, if the government and body politic did not use its airwaves to communicate then it would no longer have sufficient content to exist.

    3. Lilly

      @ class wario – would you go away outta that. As Heather Humphreys said this morning, the President of the US earns less than RTE pays some of its people. Denial and delusion on that scale deserves no sympathy. They have a way to go I suspect before reality dawns, by which stage it will probably be too late.

      1. RTE employee

        Yep “Some” but everyone seems to forget the many hundreds of people who work in RTE on low to very modest salaries …I should know ……Im one of them.

        And great , everyone household saves €160 …to give to sky or netflix, as thousands of jobs (incl the independent film sector and crew services for international productions) disappear ….and the news is entirely controlled by a certain Irish Businessman.

        What a wonderful prospect

        Oh and if you think youll be watching ANY sports without paying , you are very sadly mistaken ….. so your €160 will get you about 3 months of a sports package.

        Some people on here should visit a few countries that dont have well resourced Public Sector broadcasting ,because if they think Ireland is bad …Phew!!

        1. Lilly

          I agree with a lot of what you say, particularly about the employees on modest salaries but, if even from a PR perspective, RTE needs to get its house in order in relation to the off-the-wall earners. It’s an insult to everyone who pays their licence fee.

          1. RTE employee

            I doubt you will find anyone more outraged by RTE celebrity salaries than those on modest wages in RTE .

          2. Lilly

            I don’t doubt it. In persisting with this ‘because we’re worth it’ attitude when the market suggests otherwise, RTE is treating the licence-paying public with contempt, signaling indifference to anger at their money being wasted. Why can’t the Board grasp this? I’d say to Dee Forbes, show some respect for what you’re already getting – and if you insist on throwing it away, expect a backlash.

        2. martco

          @ RTÉ Employee

          a tech question in case u know…

          why is the RTÉ Player from circa 1978?

          There’s a chasm between what you guys deliver & the platform the likes of BBC operate with their iPlayer or the more global operators like Netflix etc. The difference is at RTE’s end. I don’t know a single person who watches anything on RTÉ player bar CL matches which stream like I’m on a 33.6k US Robotics modem.

          Why is the platform so crap?

          1. RTE employee

            I don’t know , not my area …internally we were promised that it was going to be world class. As far as I know most of it was developed by external contractors ….and it wouldnt be the first time RTE management signed a contract without really having a clue what they were buying.

            Its also , given RTEs perilous financial situation ,possible it was done on the cheap

            And I agree with you its crap

          2. Lilly

            My guess is they awarded the contract to a nephew. I know a total wizard who applied for a webby job in RTE a few years ago and he didn’t even get an interview. He has since left them in the dust of course.

          3. Cian

            “why is the RTÉ Player from circa 1978?”
            1978 eh? LOL

            “There’s a chasm between what you guys deliver & the platform the likes of BBC operate with their iPlayer or the more global operators like Netflix etc. ”

            Hmm.. possibly because the BBC is a €5billion company and Netflix is a €15billion company. RTE is only a €0.3 billion. Secondly, Netflix has a single product – streaming services – so it needs to be righr.

      2. shayna

        @SOQ The BBC is not funded by Government – it’s primarily the Licence Fee, however, they have to endure an oversight by The British Government to ensure that they comply with British Broadcasting Regualtions. The difference between The BBC and RTÉ is huge. BBC Drama is exported globally, with innumerable successful shows, they sell repeats on DAVE, and half own it. BBCiplayer works. I live up the road a bit from Dublin, but RTÉ Player defies. it’s terrible – I wanted to watch, “Charlie” – it may have been good, or not, but I’d have liked the opportunity to view and judge for myself.
        The BBC back in the 80s and 90s had troubles with unions. I worked for Autocue – one of the shows I worked on was “Tomorrow’s World” on The BBC. There were 6 cameras, 4 had Autocue, including one which was on a boom – (up and down, and swinging like on a boat) . The opening shot during rehearsals was Judith Hahn walking towards the boom camera and reading the Autocue, the camera tilted and the glass from the Autocue shattered at her feet. She really could have been seriously injured. I got re-enforced equipment sent up to TV Centre – the show was live – I had to strip 4 cameras and replace them with new equipment, meanwhile the 6 camera operators just sat, taking bets on whether I’d make it in time for the credits. Union policy, apparently? I’d just cleared the studio floor of the debris when I heard the outro music to Eastenders on TX. Don’t get me started on Mr. Blobby.

  2. paul

    Integrated Media Centre? Does this mean that the RTE Player will stop being a thin stream of faeces running through my internet connection? Oh I can dream.

    Dee seems to be frothing at the mouth about increasing the license fee. Just another over-paid employee clogging up RTE keeping it from really developing.

  3. newsjustin

    RTE News are totally blind to their viewers, listeners. They just spent the vast bulk of the hour between 8am and 9am on RTE Radio 1 discussing this issue. Effectively having an in-house IR rant/dispute on air. Horrified they were that a fellow journalist/news outlet would have the story before they were all informed.

    1. Nigel

      By the third time someone said ‘consume our media product’ I was ready to throw the radio out the window.

  4. Brother Barnabas

    hope those of you who dont pay the license fee feel suitably sorry, guilty and ashamed this morning

  5. Cian

    The Licence fee should be abolished.
    It made sense 50 years ago when TV and Radio ownership rates were low so only those that used the service paid for it.
    Now the vast majority of homes have TV or radio (or internet access) so it should be funded by general taxation. Having an opt-in tax and a separate collection mechanism is ridiculous.

    1. Pip

      Makes perfect sense, Cian.
      Absolutely no need for what is likely a costly operation in itself – advertising, admin, policing etc.

    2. GiggidyGoo

      It’s not public service broadcasting. There are.many providing the same service.
      It should be let die.
      If they want to provide a public service, then a 8’x8′ room with a mike and a couple of presenters can do that on a wireless instead if a conglomerate if people.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Virgin are providing as much public service broadcasting as RTÉ. TG4 likewise. Local radio stations likewise.
          The ‘most viewed’ figures are based on how many households being monitored? You mention ‘channel’ but Netflix, Amazon etc. aren’t ‘channels’ yet are viewed. Nor does it mention how long viewers spend, and on what programs. But if you go by your table (last year covered, 2015) it shows that the RTEs are consistently going down in the table.
          What your table, or your comment doesn’t back up though is the question of public service broadcasting.

          1. Cian

            Zaconne mentioned a good list below: “news, current affairs, documentaries, lyric FM, arguably sports coverage – for more niche sports especially”
            Neither Virgin nor TG4 provide as anywhere near the quantity or quality that RTE does (granted RTE gets the bulk of the licence fee)

            Netflix, Amazon, etc provide “content”. but nothing in the way of the services mentioned above. They aren’t cheap wither. Netflix standard plan is 7,99/month or 96/year – (versus 160 for the TV licence). Their premium is 168/year!

          2. GiggidyGoo

            Yes Cian. And the lesson therefore is RTE should provide their content as a pay service. If they are confident that they are providing quality public service and entertainment content then they should gave no problems getting subscribes.

    3. martco

      yes @Cian
      in addition (seeing as we’re moving the wage book into general taxation) we shut it down, sack the board, lay off the staff & dispose of remaining unnecessary assets.
      next 2 choices: decide whether to leave at that letting the morket decide what happens next or set up a brand new corporate, org chart, wage structure & scope out/agree the service to be provided to it’s “customers”, branding yadda yadda.
      interview for the available positions

      is that what you were thinking?

      1. Cian

        No. What you are suggesting is closing RTE. That wasn’t what I was thinking.

        No TV channel can be everything to everybody. RTE isn’t bad. It is too expensive and that needs to be trimmed back.

    4. Formerly known as @ireland.com

      100% – I can’t believe they haven’t dumped it. I live in Australia. The ABC is funded by taxes, only. SBS has government funding and is broadcasts ads. There is no silly licence fee. Lots of people complain about the ABC but it provides a range of quality radio and TV channels.

      1. shayna

        Have you watched, “Rake”, “The 2nd State” and “Jack Irish” – all Aus, loved them all!

  6. Otis Blue

    RTÉ’s published strategy focuses on three specific elements: putting the audience first; producing high-quality content and allowing audiences to connect with RTÉ content how, where and when they want.


    All well and good but these aspirations are not supported in any shape or form by their actions. Nor are they reflected in the proposed cuts, few of which appear to be rooted in any clear strategy. Their mantra, loud and shrill, and one which falls on deaf ears, is that additional public funding rather than any meaningful reform or adaptation to market reality, will solve their problems.

    It won’t.

  7. Optimus Grime

    When your on a 200 Mb connection and the Player keeps buffering then you know it’s going to take a whack of cash to fix that! Oh and the website is nothing short of a disgrace it’s like a Junior Cert project so please spare us Dee you are fully responsible for a lot of your own problems!

    1. Stan

      The player is a mess, and, given the potential size of the expat audience who would/ could pay for decent content from Ireland as well as specifically targetted ‘diaspora’ stuff, it is somewhat shortsighted. And yes, the website is appalling. Hard not to feel that RTE is full of people who haven’t really taken on board the technology of the last two decades and yearn for the days of ‘Harbour Hotel’

      1. Tarfton Clax

        “HARBOUR HOTEL , Can I help you? Oooh Miss O C.. yes Gabriel. That Charlie fella is awful. GEt that Solicitor Aidan Belton here now…”
        God I loved Harbour Hotel…

    1. freddy8toes

      5 ads, had to watch Dublin Murders on it last night, 15 ads by the time it consistently streamed the episode

  8. Truth in the News

    RTE will be bankrupt in a short time and will eventually close down, to try and avoid
    its demise, every trick in the book to try and force the introduction of a Household
    Broadcasting Users Tax, this is now being ramped up before the election in
    order to panic all political parties and none to support its introduction, or RTE will
    shaft them in election coverage, if the politician’s give in, the electorate will shaft
    them just like what happened in the Water Tax debacle

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Well if that happens, Nostradamus, I look forward to an RTE-less life and an extra €160 per year to blow on entertainment pursuits of greater value.

  9. Zaccone

    RTE do some good work that should be retained. News, current affairs, documentaries, lyric FM, arguably sports coverage – for more niche sports especially. These are all things that a commercial broadcaster wouldn’t do, or wouldn’t do well.

    But RTE spend the vast majority of their budget on overpaid presenters, and on importing generic US/UK shows. 2fm should be axed in its entirety tomorrow. RTE2 probably also.

    And an organization-wide salary cap of 100k should be implemented. Thats an equivalent salary to a TD, for similar reasons. Its a good enough salary to live a comfortable life on. And plenty of people will still line up to do the jobs because of their social cache/the fact its interesting work.

    1. Tea And Brexits

      Sure. Like SELF-AID.

      That annual event where RTÉ does good work promoting itself and sticking its flared nostrils in the public trough.

  10. scottser

    i’m not really bothered about rte cutting back. even if it died off the only thing i would miss is gaa coverage.

    1. shayna

      Yeah, but don’t don’t forget, the GAA sold off a lot of its broadcasting rights to Sky. You mean you’d miss The Three Wise Men of The Sunday Game; O’Rourke, Spillane and Brolly?

      1. V

        GAA still own the rights Shayna
        Sky were the highest bidder to use those rights for a contracted period of time

        1. shayna

          i phrased badly. I was disappointed in the GAA that they had to seek the Queen’s pound – I guess, “Grab All Association” is not completely unfounded.

        1. shayna

          I recall sitting beside my Dad in Clones quite close to the touch-line on USFC semi-final day: Tyrone v Derry 2001. Derry were warming up before the throw-in, Brolly, who was known for throwing kisses to the crowd when he scored, was beckoned by my Dad to be within ear-shot. In an uncharacteristic show of disdain, my Dad stood up and shouted, “Kiss my arse, Joe.” This was met by applause by the Tyrone supporters nearby. A bad-tempered match ensued, oh, Tyrone won.

  11. Jake38

    Crashing advertising revenue. Dreck like Joe Duffy, Marian Finucane and Eileen Dunne delivering the news from North Korea for the last 20 years. It’s finished and the sooner they move on the better.

  12. Dr.Fart

    it would be interesting to see where all the insanely overpaid presenters would go if RTE went bankrupt and closed down. Where would even want them, let alone willing to pay them a smidgen of what they’re on now. The Government won’t let it fold though, it’s a large part of their propaganda machine.

        1. Lilly

          Nah. I could see Joe as an undertaker. And Ray Darcy as a tour guide with the Office of Public Works.

          1. Dr.Fart

            hahaha perfect. “and now, tell me, mister reilly, how did you feeeeeel, when you hear that kitty had died? tell me about that how did it make you feel?”

  13. Tea And Brexits

    (Sister Michael reading the above: “Christ”.)

    RTE’s competitive edge is The Angelus. And even that’s a repeat.

  14. Termagant

    Did anyone hear the Limerick TD on the radio there referring to Dee Forbes having a “Sixty million euro hole”
    I had a fit of giggles

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Thing is that she was brought in to turn it around. She’s actually turned it backwards. A failure. However, perhaps not fair to label her as that as she’s working within the confines of FGG and can’t really make any real decisions. And then there’s the unions.
      Maybe let that be (another) lesson for any high flyers leaving private employment to become employed by this failed state. We had it in the health service, in the banking business etc.

      1. some old queen

        UNIONS- the Irish Labour Party is the exact opposite of what it claimed to be- within just one lifetime.

  15. Truth in the News

    RTE have spent all day whinging, but they never asked the vital question on where
    they have wasted money on daft programmes, paying Tubriy, Duffty, Darcy and a lot
    more of them 5 to 7 times more than they are entitled to, one has to ask are the job
    cuts being introduced so that the overpaid elechion can still milk the cofffers

  16. some old queen

    RTE is at present like the spike in O’Connell Street- obscenely expensive, hated by most and apart from grandiose egotism, serves no real purpose. All you have to do is look at how the immigrant issue is reported- 90% rejected yet all allowed to stay- not a bloody word from the ‘national’ broadcaster, apart from- ‘isn’t racism awful’- Albania + Georgia?

    But, tear it down but replace it with what? Commercially driven English outfits with little or no Irish input? Commercially driven outfits from elsewhere doing the same thing- dumb it down and make a profit.

    -Scrap Fair City and throw drama out to hungry creatives- hit and miss but we have them by the spade.

    -Kill 2FM (Halal preferably) because it is absolutely not fit for purpose- a bag of high pitched auto tuned cats- and that is only the presenters.

    -Stop following international templates- be brave- take low cost risks- expand your team of researchers to live right across the Island- trust the country and the communities you claim to represent- just like Gay Byrne did.

  17. James McGuinness

    When most people watch Netflix, Amazon or sky, rte play the angelous, repeats and propaganda. With an every of roughly 450k viewers it is quite clear that this dinosaur needs to be like the catholic church and erased. When these people think that 13 million to broadcast the Pope is ok and the pencil Ryan 2b-urty on 495k is ok with our money, someone in that cronyism infested organisation must see the problem or else need to be removed. Based on employee reviews on glassdoor, it’s quite clear that this kip needs to be erased. Time for the employees to get real jobs instead of suckling from the teet of the public.

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