Government may pump more money into RTE to save broadcaster

Government may pump more money into RTE to save broadcaster

The Government is now open to pumping even more money into RTE to keep the national broadcaster afloat. Asked directly if he would be willing to increase funding to RTE, Leo Varadkar said: "Yes. But obviously, the amount of the time is the matter for discussion."

RTE is to make €60m in savings over the next three years through a number of measures including pay freezes and 200 redundancies. Mr Varadkar said:

"Obviously, the issues in RTE do need to be resolved. There's a plan that's now been put forward by management and by the board, and that will need to be considered.

"I think it's worth reflecting on the fact that as recently as 2012 or 2013, RTE was breaking even, and even-though the money from the license and government has increased since then, its deficit has actually grown.

So reforms and restructuring are needed but also the government will come to the table too, we'd be happy to have discussion with the board about that because we do want to protect RTE and make sure it continues to be a public service broadcaster for everyone into the future.

"So yes, we can come to the table and yes, we can contribute to the solution."

The Taoiseach added: "There won't be a solution without RTE itself, modernizing and reforming and in fairness to them that you have made a lot of changes in recent years, not the selling of the Donnybrook site and consolidating that too."

Mr Varadkar added that the Government may also examine fast-tracking the introduction of a new broadcasting charge to replace the TV licence fee, but this would take time as it would require legislation.

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