Ireland

Fair City and other programmes to be hit by 10m euro cuts at RTE

RTE cameraman (Alamy/PA)
RTE cameraman (Alamy/PA) RTE cameraman (Alamy/PA)

RTE has announced it will reduce the number of Fair City episodes aired per week and other programmes will be postponed in a move to save millions of euro.

The broadcaster has committed to reduce spending by at least 10 million euro (£8.6 million) next year as part of a reform plan and efforts to guarantee funding from the state.

The Government has agreed to give RTE 16 million euro (£13.8 million) this year and 40 million euro (£34 million) next year to cover the shortfall in funding exacerbated by a drop in TV licence fee revenue.

The number of people paying their 160-euro-a-year (£138) licence fee has reduced from last year after a crisis hit the broadcaster over fees paid to its highest earners and wider governance and financial issues.

On Thursday, RTE said spending cuts it had promised to make in 2024 mean it will not produce an in-house Saturday evening entertainment show in the spring, and the production of a third season of The Money List will be deferred until 2025. A second season, produced this year, will be broadcast in 2024.

Transmission of The Young Offenders will be deferred until 2025.

The budget for acquired programmes will also be reduced in 2024, and “additional savings” will be made through production savings in news and current affairs and sport.

RTE said resources would be available to provide coverage of the local and European elections next summer, the Olympic Games in Paris, and the European Championship soccer.

RTE staff cuts
RTE staff cuts RTE chief Kevin Bakhurst (Liam McBurney/PA)

RTE director-general Kevin Bakhurst said 2024 “will be a challenging year” and costs would have to be managed carefully.

“These deferrals of production and transmission, along with reduced production budgets, are hard choices.

“However, they will not only assist us in achieving the required savings, but allow for proactive cost and resource management in the delivery of essential special events in 2024.

“With these temporary reductions and deferrals, we are seeking to maintain and preserve RTE’s schedules and public service delivery as much as possible.

“With the launch of the new direction outline plan, my hope, as I have said before, is that we will enter 2025 armed with a robust strategy that makes the best use of the monies available to fund our national media service, monies we will invest as wisely and strategically as possible to improve the invaluable contribution of public service media to life in Ireland.

“Those monies, of course, depend upon a decision on the future sustainable funding of public service media in Ireland.”