RTÉ to appoint new London correspondent

State broadcaster’s London bureau was closed in September 2012 as part of cost-cutting programme

Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs Kevin Bakhurst says the new correspondent appointment was possible thanks to “significant savings” since the closure of the London bureau two years ago. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs Kevin Bakhurst says the new correspondent appointment was possible thanks to “significant savings” since the closure of the London bureau two years ago. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

RTÉ News has announced plans to appoint a new London correspondent, two years after the broadcaster shut its office in the city.

The RTÉ London bureau, which consisted of five staff members including London editor Brian O’Connell, was closed in September 2012 as part of a €25 million cost-cutting programme.

RTÉ has confirmed the newly appointed London correspondent will work to a “newer, more cost-effective model”, similar to the working structure of the Washington office. The journalist, who will be based at the ITN studios in London, will use self-editing and self-shooting skills, with access to a freelance camera crew when necessary.

The new London role will be advertised internally at RTÉ in the coming weeks and the correspondent will begin reporting in January 2015.

A spokeswoman for RTÉ said the new appointment will only amount to “a fraction of previous spending” in the London office, but declined to reveal its exact cost.

She explained that following the completion of the contract in December 2014, the position of Europe Correspondent, currently held by Paul Cunningham, will not be re-advertised.

Europe Editor Tony Connolly, who is based in Brussels, will take full responsibility for reporting on European affairs, while the savings from the correspondent post will be reallocated to the new London position.

The London correspondent will be responsible for reporting on all political, social and economic affairs in London and around Great Britain for RTÉ News television, radio and web based platforms.

Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs, Kevin Bakhurst, said the appointment had been made possible thanks to “significant savings” since the closure of the London bureau two years ago, as well as “redeploying the staffing costs of the Europe Correspondent post”.

“This will be a smaller operation than we previously had, but with changes in training and technologies we will look to continue to provide the same high quality of coverage expected by the public of RTÉ News,” said Mr Bakhurst.