Firstly, Mr Rabbitte, if you are concerned that individuals with smartphones and computers will access RTÉ services via their online media player for free why not issue your new licence or whatever variation on same you propose (it has still not been clarified what you propose to describe this new tax as), why not issue an individual access password with every “licence issued”, like the state imposed restrictions on Irish users of BBC player, therefore preventing any free-loading cavemen accessing RTÉ player’s valuable content. Believe me, Mr Rabbitte, nobody would be bothered in trying to back this site.
I can now hear Mr Rabbitte shriek that these cavemen would still have access to the RTÉ radio network via their smartphones, computers, or horror or horrors the wireless that has been sitting on the kitchen workbench for decades. If the Minister requires more recent clarification on the current status of the kitchen wireless he should consult SI 211 of 1972 to confirm the exempt status of same. It may also be advisable to peruse SI 292 of 2005 and SI 197 of 2005 (SI means statutory instrument by the way, minister).
I would like to remind the minister of his predecessor’s Mr Gormley’s attempts to copy this principle by including the TV licence fee in the price of every new set and every laptop/PC/Smartphone sold in the State with the capacity of receiving television signals via the internet and the subsequent backlash that he received from the manufacturers of said products.
Needless to say their option was quickly shelved, as is the fate of so many Irish government reports.
I do not have the facility to receive TV or reasonably priced internet access because of the location of my home and do not possess a smartphone. I have not noticed any marked decrease to my quality of life, in fact quite the contrary. I listen to the radio much more and find that not having my life dictated by the scheduling of soap operas and TV series quite liberating.
Has Mr Rabbitte become so bereft of imagination that he cannot see that his proposal for the new broadcasting charge is just another insipid tax that this government proposed to levy on the already hard-pressed citizens because they have a convenient database to refer this tax to.