Minister Not In Favour of Licence fee Paying for Oireachtas Transmission Costs
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, T.D., has said he is not in favour of providing any of the licence fee to the Oireachtas for transmission costs. The Minister says he "would not be in favour of such a solution as it would further diminish the funding available to the public service broadcasters and for financing Irish public service content." The Minister also said that his department has yet to receive any request from RTÉ for new broadcasting services, as reported in The Sunday Times that RTÉ are planning to provide new services such as RTÉ2+1 and the introduction of advertising on RTÉ News Now.
The minister points out that legislative change would be required to allow either the Irish Film Board Channel or Oireachtas TV to gain access to the Licence Fee. Currently RTÉ, TG4 and the BAI receive funding from the Licence Fee under the Broadcasting Act 2009.
On the launch of Oireachtas TV on Sky the Houses of the Oireachtas were quick to point out that they believe that they should be carried for free on Saorview, however this would go against the minister’s view that such funding of transmission costs by 2RN as it "would further diminish the funding available to the public service broadcasters and for financing Irish public service content".
Since 2011 TG4 has been provided both exchequer and licence fee funding to the value of €32.75 million. Asked should TG4 show where its funding comes from the minister stated "TG4 reflect the amount they receive from all sources in their Annual Report." The extract from the 2013 annual report provided by the Minister states "Exchequer funding was €32.75m of this and represented 91.4% of TG4’s total income with the commercial income share representing 8.6% in 2013 at €3.09m". The extract provided by the Department does not show how much Licence Fee funding was given to TG4 rather it give a total amount of public funding under the heading "Exchequer Funding". TG4 Annual Reports for 2013 & 2012 do not mention the Licence Fee.
The Minister also said that he has not received any request from RTÉ for new broadcasting services, as reported in The Sunday Times. His predecessor, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., was unable to make a decision on RTÉjr’s move from RTÉ2, resulting in a drawn out process and RTÉ’s ultimate withdrawal of their proposed move.