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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

Government was only told of RTÉ cuts plan this morning - Simon Coveney

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary told the Tánaiste that “Good media is dying on the vine while you whistle by the graveyard”.

Image: Oireachtas

TÁNAISTE SIMON COVENEY has told the Dáil that the government was only told of RTÉ’s massive restructuring and cost-cutting measures this morning.

Coveney said that Minister for Communications Richard Bruton received the final report from RTÉ this morning, as “RTÉ weren’t expecting to have to deal with this today”.

“We would have had an idea of the contents, we only received a complete plan this morning,” the Tánaiste said. He said that Minister Bruton met recently with RTÉ. 

The plans include 200 job cuts for next year, the closure of its Limerick studio (but LyricFM is to be retained), the fees of RTÉ’s top contracted presenters to be cut by 15%, and RTÉ’s digital stations including RTÉGold are to close. 

RTÉ had planned to announce the cuts to staff and then publically, but postponed the announcement after the death of former Late Late Show presenter Gay Byrne. 

The Irish Times got hold of the plans and reported them late last night, forcing RTÉ to make the announcement through email that was sent out at 10.30pm last night. 

Fianna Fáil leader Dara Calleary said that RTÉ “is on life support and you’re offering tea and sympathy”. He asked for detail on what would happen to Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4, saying that there needed to be support for Irish language services. 

He also added that “changing tendering isn’t going to change evasion rates”, and asked the Tánaiste for more detail on how to tackle Ireland’s high evasion rates.

“Good media is dying on the vine while you whistle by the graveyard,” he said.

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