Thursday 18 April 2024
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O’Shea Welcomes Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting 

O’Shea Welcomes Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting 

Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will establish a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting. 

Cllr. O’Shea said that ‘broadcasting is an important channel for expression of culture and community, for supporting creative talent and for independent, objective reporting of current affairs for citizens’. 

He said it is clear that a massive transformation is challenging the existing model. Whereas TV and radio are the main sources of news for 70% of over 65-year-olds; for 18-24-year-olds, only 24% rely on TV or radio, while 71% rely on social media and other online sources. 

Cllr. O’Shea said he welcomed the government’s decision to establish a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting to consider how best to deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future. 

A Commission on Irish Public Service Broadcasting is being established by the Department of the Taoiseach to bring forward proposals by September 2020 (to ensure input before Budget 2021) The Minister has today published the terms of reference for the Commission.  

The Commission will review the current approach and make recommendations to Government on setting a new strategic direction for public service broadcasting provided at national, regional and local level in light of international experience and future trends. Membership will be decided shortly. 

In light of its financial difficulties, RTÉ submitted a revised strategy which has now been considered by Government, following an evaluation by NewEra. The Government have agreed to provide an additional €10m funding to broadcasting with approximately €9m going to RTÉ to implement this new plan. This funding is in addition to the allocation of €10m additional funding made between 2018 and 2019. 

The provision of this additional funding will be accompanied by new reporting requirements including a structured reporting template which will also see monthly meetings between RTÉ and the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment working with NewERA. 

The funding will come from the Department of Social Protection vote, in respect of free TV Licences and is to be provided in the 2020 revised Estimates. 

Communications Minister Bruton said: “RTÉ must make changes to reposition itself. However, it is also important that a careful assessment take place of what are the models and funding mechanisms that can best support the continuing important public service goals. This is Government meeting RTÉ halfway on the financial challenges they face.”  

The Government also agreed that RTÉ should not proceed with the part sale of the site, as intended in their plan, until the work of the Commission is completed and considered by Government, given that its recommendations may impact on decisions regarding the size and requirements of RTÉ.