RTÉ has provisionally recommended selling up to 10 acres of the Montrose campus over the next year, ahead of a report on the management of its assets going to the Minister for Communications.
A briefing document prepared for Denis Naughten also warns there are tough “financial challenges” ahead for the broadcaster, including further loses of licence fees and advertising.
The document, published yesterday, also reveals the priorities for the minister in communications, energy, and the environment.
It notes the option of introducing a broadcasting charge instead of the licence fee due to high evasion rates, remains on hold .
“Work on this area is on hold pending any policy commitments that may arise in the context of the new programme for government,” says the briefing from top department officials.
However, the amount in licence fees continues to fall as customers leave the paying category and enter a ‘free licence’ pool, which is paid for by the State where applicants are on welfare.
The briefing notes that, on foot of the NewEra review, RTÉ established a working group which is undertaking analysis of the options available regarding use of its assets, including the Montrose site. Following an analysis of possible scenarios, preliminary options have been considered by the board. A report on this process will be submitted to the minister, it says.
“While no final decisions have been made, the RTÉ board has decided in principle that RTÉ should prepare to dispose of up to 10 acres of underutilised land at the Donnybrook end of the site in 2016/2017. In line with the recommendations of the NewERA review, it is expected that any funds realised as a result of leveraging the company’s assets would be used for capital investment purposes.”
RTÉ last night said no final decision had been made involving “underutilised portions” of the site, but the broadcaster intends to remain at the campus.
Meanwhile, the document also notes it will be a significant challenge for Ireland to reduce green house gases by 2020, as planned. There is also the possibility of energy efficiency targets being enforced in the rental sector it warns, with the start of “consultation on energy efficiency in the rental sector, exploring the possibility of imposing minimum standards in that sector after 2020”.
Addressing the roll out of Eircode, it notes the total spend to date has been €21m. The total cost to the exchequer over 10-years is estimated to be €38m.
“Usage by public sector bodies is increasing with the Eircode included on almost €2.9m pieces of correspondence issues by public sector bodies since launch,” it notes.
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