RTÉ crisis: Drop of almost €1 million in TV licence sales and renewals in June and early July

Figures show 5,837 fewer TV licences were sold in five weeks than in the same period in 2022

The number of new sales and renewals of the TV licence dropped by more than 6 per cent during a five-week period across June and July compared with the same weeks last year, newly released figures show.

National broadcaster RTÉ – which is part-funded by TV licence fees – has been embroiled in controversy since June 22nd over secret payments to presenter Ryan Tubridy and other revelations about spending on corporate hospitality.

Overall the new figures suggest the revenue from new sales and renewals of the €160 TV licence has fallen some €933,920 over the five weeks in June and July, compared with the same period in 2022.

The data was provided to Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin in a written response to a Dáil question put to Minister for Media Catherine Martin.


It shows that 5,837 fewer TV licences were sold over June and the first week in July than in the same five-week period in 2022. Most of the drop – 4,191 sales and renewals – came in the first week of July.

In total 84,662 licences were sold over these five weeks in 2023 compared with 90,499 in the same period in 2022 – a fall of more than 6.4 per cent.

Mr Griffin described the figures as “a considerable drop”, and raised the concern that if it continues “it will lead to a serious funding crisis for RTÉ”. He said the broadcaster and Ms Martin “will need to put in place a contingency plan now to mitigate against the possible effects of continued revenue loss”.

Mr Griffin suggested that the fall in TV licence purchases shows that there has been a loss in confidence in the broadcaster due to the recent revelations.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times