RTÉ finances still stretched: Same old story

Some of the 30-year-old archive material published today shows how very little has changed and how very much has changed.

In early 1986 cabinet ministers Alan Dukes and John Boland opposed a £2 increase in the television licence fee because, they said, RTÉ had not done enough to “improve its financial performance”.

Thirty years later RTÉ’s finances remain a pressing issue, possibly even more pressing as the outside world intrudes and secures revenues once firmly within the orbit of our national broadcaster.

However, this time around, jobs rather than pay rises are in jeopardy. So too, and more importantly, is the station’s ability to discharge its public service remit.

The archive papers offer no lessons on how all media, not just RTÉ, might be sustained in this multi-platform, ever more diverse media world.

Thirty years ago the idea of a cross-media public subsidy would have been unimaginable but today, in a post-factual world, is becoming essential.

And just to show how little has really changed — late in 1986 RTÉ was granted a £5 licence fee increase.


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