RTE Director General Dee Forbes
Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes appeared before the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Ms Forbes’ appearance follows the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland saying RTÉ should get an immediate injection of €30million in funding.
In The Times Ireland edition, Catherine Sanz and Kate O’Neill report:
It was suggested to Ms Forbes by Hildegarde Naughton, the committee’s chairwoman, that with a licence evasion rate of 14.6 per cent, if the revenue from unpaid licence fees were recouped it would generate €40 million, surpassing the BAI’s recommendation.
However, Ms Forbes said that efforts were already being made to collect fees from households claiming not to have a television and watching programmes online, but that the broadcaster needed funding now because it was in crisis.
…Ms O’Keeffe said that RTÉ’s operating costs were reduced by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2013, which was achieved through pay cuts averaging between 2.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, in addition to a suspension of bonuses that has not yet been restored. Pay cuts had been reversed.
She told the committee that the cuts were not sustainable with maintaining quality. “In order to make good content, you have to spend money; our competitors are. For very high quality programming you have to invest.”
Ms Forbes also said:
“Our urgency is also reflected in the industry…Our commissioning levels to Irish production companies have halved over the last number of years. We were spending €80million on commissioned programmes. We’re now spending €40million.”
In response to a question about RTÉ’s workers’ different salaries, and pay grades, and transparency about the same
Director of Human Resources Eimear Cusack said:
“Again, much of it is down to legacy issues, in terms of how grades have built up over time and how different roles have morphed into different roles.
“You know we have an employee base of almost 1,800 employees, most of whom are governed by grades. So I think in the new model – because grades are tied to union agreements, etc, so in the new model, we would have, I suppose greater simplification and, I suppose, greater transparency because there will be less to look at.”
You can say that again.
Watch back in full here
RTÉ crisis ‘can’t be solved just by catching licence cheats’ (The Times Ireland edition)
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