Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
200. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the current RTÉ strategy for the period 2018-22, which was reviewed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland prior to being submitted to her Department and was subsequently laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas and signed off on by her; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32070/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 200 and 201 together.
Under Section 99 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ is required to prepare a Statement of Strategy which sets out how they intend to achieve their public service objects for the following five year period. These Statements of Strategy are required to be presented to the Minister and subsequently laid before each House of the Oireachtas.
The Statements are also submitted to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) as the independent regulator, and as part of their wider consideration of the fulfilment by RTÉ of its public service objects. However, in accordance with the editorial and operational independence provided for by the Broadcasting Act, the Minister is not required to formally approve the Statement of Strategy. Rather the Minister may lay a Government response alongside the Statement of Strategy and BAI review.
With regard to the RTÉ Statement of Strategy for the period 2018-2022, this was submitted to and reviewed by the BAI before being presented to the Department and brought to Government by the then Minister. Both the Strategy and the Government response were subsequently laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.
On foot of concerns regarding its financial position in 2019, RTÉ developed a revised financial strategy for the period up to 2024, which includes a range of measures designed to reduce costs and increase revenues. This revised financial strategy does not replace the existing statutory Statement of Strategy and as such did not require formal review by BAI under the legislation. However, it was examined by my Department in consultation with NewERA, following which the Government decided to allocate an additional €9.3 million in funding to RTÉ through an increased contribution from the Department of Social Protection in respect of free TV licences, to enable the implementation by RTÉ of the package of agreed measures. It was also agreed that NewEra, in conjunction with my Department, would also monitor the delivery by RTÉ of the revised strategy targets.
With regard to the next strategy period, commencing in 2023, the BAI are engaging with both TG4 and RTÉ in relation to the development of their respective Statements of Strategy. These will be submitted to my Department in due course, and in accordance with the legislative provisions in the Broadcasting Act.