RTÉ €10m budget cuts mean fewer episodes of Fair City

Voluntary exit programme part of plan to cut back on expenditure in 2024 as part of a package of reform, according to plan

RTÉ is to reduce the number of episodes of Fair City it will broadcast every week from four to three, beginning in January, as part of a package of financial cuts at the national broadcaster.

The station will continue to produce four episodes a week of the soap opera, with the smaller number of episodes being broadcast allowing for a break in production in the months of July and August, deputy director general Adrian Lynch said in a statement.

In-house Sunday evening summer factual programming will not be produced next year, and an in-house Saturday evening entertainment show will not be made next spring, Mr Lynch said.

The measures form part of a package that it is planned will save the station a minimum of €10 million “in order to address immediate and significant financial challenges”.


The Government recently announced the provision of €40 million in interim funding for RTÉ for 2024, subject to the implementation of reforms. RTÉ's overall running costs are expected to rise next year.

Among the challenges facing the station next year are providing coverage of the Olympic Games, the European Football Championships, local and European elections, and other special events.

A voluntary exit programme designed to reduce the RTÉ headcount by 40 is to be funded by the proceeds from a 2017 land sale, Mr Lynch said.

Production of a third season of The Money List is to be deferred until 2025 - a second season, produced in 2023 is to air in 2024 - while the transmission of Young Offenders is to be deferred until 2025.

The budget for acquired programmes will be reduced for next year and additional savings are to be sought in the news, current affairs and sport departments.

With a continued decline in sales of TV licences and with commercial revenue projected to be broadly level year-on-year, a range of cuts to planned expenditure is needed, Mr Lynch said.

Director general Kevin Bakhurst said next year will be challenging and that the national broadcaster would have to manage its cost base carefully.

“These deferrals of production and transmission, along with reduced production budgets, are hard choices,” he said. “However, they will not only assist us in achieving the required savings, but allow for pro-active cost and resource management in the delivery of essential special events in 2024.”

He said the plan is to enter 2025 with a strategy that makes to best use of the monies available. “Those monies, of course, depend upon a decision on the future sustainable funding of public service media in Ireland.”

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent