RTÉ warns of serious implications over further €5 million cut in revenue

Broadcaster estimates it has lost €30 million in public funding over last three years

RTÉ director-general Noel Curran has set the broadcaster to break even by the end of year. File Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

RTÉ director-general Noel Curran has set the broadcaster to break even by the end of year. File Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

RTÉ has warned of “serious implications” from budget changes that will cost it €5 million a year.

The amount of money paid to RTÉ by the Department of Social Protection for the 410,000 pensioners who have television licences has been reduced from €59 million to €54 million.

It is the second time in recent years that the budget has brought bad news for RTÉ. In the 2011 budget, RTÉ was ordered to pay TG4 €10 million from its licence fee revenues.

The then-government also stopped paying licence fees for future pensioners from the start of 2011.

In a statement tonight, RTÉ said the €5 million cut means that its public funding has been reduced by almost €30 million per annum in the last three years.

This is on top of €125 million it has taken out of its operating costs since 2008.

Despite the cuts, RTÉ said it will continue to work to deliver its five-year strategy. Last month it announced ambitions to have an on-the-hour television service which is “finance dependent”, a diaspora channel entitled RTÉ Ireland and a refurbishment of its Montrose site to allow it be used by independent production companies.

A RTÉ management source said the latest announcement was not a surprise. “This is something that RTÉ would be of mindful of each year. This is very tough given that all the money that has been taken out of RTÉ but we don’t know the full import of it.”

RTÉ director-general Noel Curran has set the broadcaster to break even by the end of year. A spokesman said they are on course to acheive this.