Richard Bruton: Possible sale of RTE's Cork studio a matter for the broadcaster

Richard Bruton: Possible sale of RTE's Cork studio a matter for the broadcaster

Communications Minister Richard Bruton has said the possible sale of RTE's Cork studio is a matter for the broadcaster's independent board, and not immediately for him as Minister.

A media report today said that RTE is preparing to sell its southern regional studio on Cork city's Fr Matthew St, as well as more of its Dublin 4 campus, to raise funds to support its output.

The Mail on Sunday report comes in the wake of comments from RTE Director General Dee Forbes earlier this month that RTE's financial situation was poor, and would require significant measures to rectify.

She said the broadcaster's financial situation “is unlike anything it has seen before” and “it won’t be possible to continue as (we) are.”

Speaking to RTE radio today, Minister Bruton said RTE would have to transform itself to respond to new challenges, and that he needed to see an overall plan from the independent RTE board that addressed those challenges, and how to fund the organisation into the future.

Asked specifically whether he would stand over decisions such as the sale of the Cork studio, he said it was for RTE to decide whether such a sale was part of its future plan.

"I need to see that in context; I need to see an overall plan," he said, acknowledging that RTE faced significant challenges.

"They need to build digital audiences, and younger audiences...We do have to see RTE find routes to respond (to new challenges)," he added.

"They have to devise a strategy - how do they develop public services broadcasting in this new environment."

He acknowledged a political element to enacting changes including the sale of RTE assets, but said Ministers did not dictate the content of public service broadcasting, and that the RTE board needed to do that.


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