RTÉ urges Irish government to allow licence fee increase

Andy Sennitt

Irish households face the prospect of paying more for their TV licence to help offset potential losses of €68 million at RTÉ. The broadcaster also wants a crackdown on the estimated 14% of households who do not pay the licence fee, describing the percentage of defaulters as “high by international standards”. RTÉ has urged the Government to allow it increase the licence fee from €160, which would be the first increase in three years.

The company said that while it achieved a break-even result last year, it anticipated a €68m shortfall this year - a 15% reduction in income. Despite the economic downturn, revenue at RTÉ remained static at €441m. Overall, RTÉ’s operating costs rose by 7% to €460.5m last year, although it achieved a break-even position through a number of cost-cutting measures. RTÉ Director-General Cathal Goan said the decision taken to put on hold plans to launch a TV channel for Irish people living abroad would continue to be reviewed.