Drop in TV licence fee renewals will continue until trust is restored in RTÉ says Cannon

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Galway Daily news

The drop in sales and renewal of the TV licence fee will continue until public trust is restored in RTÉ, a local TD has said.

East Galway TD Ciarán Cannon said the latest TV licence sales and renewal figures sourced by his party colleague Brendan Griffin are “very worrying”.

He described the drop in TV licence fee revenue is a “serious wake-up call” to RTÉ and the Government.

“We need to act quickly in completely reforming the licence fee collection system,” Deputy Cannon said.

The Fine Gael TD, who is media spokesperson for the party, said that in 2021, he and his Fine Gael colleagues did an in-depth analysis on the future of public service media and made a submission to the Future of Media Commission.

“Included in that submission was a recommendation that we should replace the TV licence with a Public Service Media Charge on all households and business premises. This policy was adopted by Fine Gael’s Parliamentary Party,” he explained.

“The charge would remain at €160 but with a properly structured collection system operated by the Revenue Commissioners, we would expect to see a €75 million increase in revenue funds that would be used to safeguard the future of our public service media, something that is fundamental to the proper functioning of our democracy.”

In the submission, they made the case that the commercial radio sector and print media also have an important role to play in the future of public service media.

“This additional €75 million in revenue would also allow us to extend support to journalists outside of RTÉ who also generate trustworthy content that is of value to our democracy, both local and national,” said Deputy Cannon.

He praised the local Galway media, which he said plays a vital role in that regard for all who live here.

“Ultimately, this Fine Gael position was not adopted by Government. We are now in a crisis so let us use that as an opportunity to look at it again.

“Right now, our focus must be on restoring trust in RTÉ as an institution, but in parallel with that work we should be preparing to legislate for a new Public Service Media Charge.

“Not much good has arisen from the RTÉ controversy, but we can change that if we carry out deep reform and create a strong financial foundation for the future of public service media in Ireland.”