Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Dara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
Nothing the Tánaiste said is new. At a time when this country's entire media industry, including RTÉ, is on life support, his prescription is tea and sympathy. He needs to wake up. He has spoken about new challenges, but we have known about these challenges for five years. The Government intends to kick the can down the road for another five years. Will we have a media industry in five years' time?
I would like the Tánaiste to answer a few questions. When was the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment informed about RTÉ's plans? Has he meet representatives of RTÉ? No reference has been made to Raidió na Gaeltachta or TG4 in any of the plans. What is the future of Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 in the context of these plans? Tá sé an-tábhachtach go mbeidh seirbhísí raidió agus teilifíse againn trí mheán na Gaeilge. The Tánaiste has spoken about licence fee evasion rates, but changing tendering is not going to magically change evasion rates. What are the Government's specific proposals in this regard? The reform of the defamation laws is crucial for independent print journalism in particular.
The attitude is to again kick the can down the road and carry out a review. Meanwhile, newspapers are closing and journalists are losing their jobs. Good media outlets are dying on the vine while the Government whistles past the graveyard. Let this be a wake-up call. Redundancies have been made by Virgin Media and Times Ireland. Now RTÉ, for the third time in as many years, has announced redundancies. When will the Government wake up?