NUJ calls for focus on funding of public service broadcasting

  • 28 Feb 2024

NUJ members and trade union colleagues will demonstrate against the ongoing funding crisis at RTÉ at lunchtime today.

The National Union of Journalists remains gravely concerned at the continued uncertainty surrounding the future of RTÉ. The union has called for a sharp focus on the funding of public service broadcasting in Ireland following last night’s meeting of the Oireachtas meeting committee, dominated by the resignation of the former RTÉ Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh. 

In a statement, the union said the resignation of the chair and the circumstances surrounding her departure have added to the sense of chaos which has engulfed the organisation. NUJ members will gather at lunchtime today (Wednesday) with trade union colleagues to call on the government to act immediately on the funding crisis in RTÉ and the wider public service broadcasting sector.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary said:

“The ongoing political controversies, the carousel of allegations and counter-allegations and the drip feed of information have left an already demoralised staff reeling. What RTÉ workers now need is a sharp focus on the future.

“We have consistently demanded transparency in relation to all aspects of executive remuneration.

“Legally binding confidential agreements do not sit easily alongside the principle of transparency and have undermined public trust. We acknowledge the complexities involved in addressing legacy issues inherited by the current director general, but the anger of staff is understandable.

“Many of our concerns relate to decisions taken by former director general Dee Forbes and members of the former Executive Board who are not on the current leadership team. Cultural change is still needed but RTÉ’s ability to survive as an effective, relevant and authoritative public service broadcaster is dependent on urgent action to address the crisis in funding. While we will continue to seek answers, our priority is securing the future of public service broadcasting.

“In our dealings with Siún NÍ Raghallaigh, with the director general and with Minister Catherine Martin, we have stressed the need to learn from past mistakes and poor corporate governance while planning for the future.”

Emma OKelly, NUJ Dublin Broadcasting branch chair, said:

“Our members remain concerned at the financial crisis caused by the delay in reforming the financing of public service broadcasting. 

“Legitimate concern over corporate governance failures and understandable anger at the lack of engagement by former senior executives should not be used to further delay decisions on the funding of public service broadcasting. 

 “Our call on the government is to act immediately to confirm a new model of funding for public service broadcasting, one which provides certainty to RTÉ staff, the independent production sector, and the public.”

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