Minister suggests RTÉ sell Donnybrook site to solve financial issuesMike Finnerty 12 Sep 2023
Minister Patrick O’Donovan has suggested a solution to RTÉ’s financial woes – sell the Donnybrook campus.
After RTÉ requested a bailout of over €50 million last week following a major drop in TV licence fee renewals, RTÉ has been left scrambling for ways to raise money after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poured cold water on the idea of RTÉ receiving a bailout.
Varadkar’s Fine Gael colleague, OPW Minister Patrick O’Donovan, suggested that RTÉ should sell it’s vast campus in Donnybrook to help stave off financial problems.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One on Tuesday, O’Donovan said “if Virgin Media can broadcast out of an industrial estate in Ballymount, it begs the question why are RTÉ broadcasting out of one of the most lucrative sites in western Europe.”
O’Donovan said the broadcaster has “some neck” in asking the Government for money after the summer scandals, which saw the likes of Dee Forbes and Ryan Tubridy resign from RTÉ.
He added that RTÉ have been “the authors of their own destiny,” following years of what he calls “governance issues and wasteful spending.”
Forbes floated the idea of selling parts of the RTÉ campus as far back as 2016 as part of cost-saving measures at the state broadcaster, with estimates from the time suggesting the site would be worth anywhere from €50 million to €75 million.
Speaking last week, Varadkar implied that a bailout of RTÉ would not be politically expedient, saying “I think everyone understands that there will be additional funding required but it has to be conditional and we’re not going to be in a position as a Government to allocate any additional funding to RTÉ until we’ve seen the director general’s new strategy.”