Ireland free of cavemen, Rabbitte assures us

Having no TV won’t help in escaping the incoming broadcasting charge

Ireland is a country devoid of cavemen who don't use expensive mobile internet devices, according to Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte.

A new study published by the Minister proposes that all principal residential households will have to pay a new broadcasting charge, which is due to replace the current TV licence fee.

So confident is Mr Rabbitte of the technological nous of Irish citizens that anyone who claims not to watch television won’t be believed.

This morning, Mr Rabbitte said exemptions to the new charge would not apply to individuals who don’t -or at least claim not to - watch television.


“I don’t believe that we have cavemen in the country,” he told RTE Radio.

To Mr Rabbitte, cavemen are “people who don’t watch television and don’t access content on their iPad or their iPhone or whatever”.

Pensioners will, however, be off the hook when it comes to the charge, as will the owners of second homes, provided the occupier has paid up for his or her principal residence.

But hotels face higher bills in the future. As it stands, hotels only pay the price of a single licence fee despite often having dozens of television sets. This morning. Mr Rabbitte said the new charge would address this “serious anomaly”.

Separately, Mr Rabbitte told Morning Ireland he didn’t have any concerns over the Government’s extension of an invitation to businessman Denis O’Brien to attend the Global Irish Economic Forum in October.

He said he didn’t know “what kind of tests you would expect the Government to cause invitees to the Global Economic Forum to jump through”.

The Moriarty inquiry found in 2011 that then minister for communications Michael Lowry "secured the winning" of the 1995 mobile phone licence for Mr O'Brien's company Esat Digifone. The tribunal also found Mr O'Brien made two payments to Mr Lowry in 1996 and 1999 totalling £500,000 and backed a loan of stg£420,000 to Mr Lowry in 1999.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist