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The RTE funding model cannot be a ‘band-aid solution’ – Simon Harris

The RTE funding model cannot be a ‘band-aid solution’ – Simon Harris
The RTE funding model cannot be a ‘band-aid solution’ – Simon Harris

RTE’s future funding model cannot be a ‘band-aid solution’, the Taoiseach has said.

Simon Harris made the comments as RTE awaits a decision on the model after the broadcaster published a roadmap for reform.

Asked for his views on the RTE reform plan, Mr Harris said: “I think it’s a very good start. I think that’s what it is – a very good start.

“I accept that the ball is now back in our court and I think that, in fairness to RTE and what RTE staff have been through over the last period and the stressful period, I think the ball is now back in our court in terms of making a decision on a funding model for public broadcasting.”

Mr Harris said the decision should be made by the end of July.

Speaking to reporters at the Night And Day festival, Mr Harris added: “Everything we do must be sustainable.

“There is no point in doing something that will make public broadcasting sustainable for a few years, only to find out that we are back where we started.

“It’s like we have to take into account things like demographics, like we have an aging population.

“It is absolutely right that people of a certain age no longer have to pay for the license fee. I am in favor of that. That will of course have to remain if the license fee remains.

“But that needs to be taken into account, as that demographic bulge could grow in the future.

“You cannot put a plaster on the wound, there must be a sustainable model.”

He added: “We need to solve this for the public broadcaster – not just for RTE, but it must also be linked to the ongoing reforms at RTE.”