Sinn Féin call for scrapping of TV licence feeMike Finnerty 12 Feb 2024
Sinn Féin has called for the current TV licence fee system to be scrapped and replaced with a model of direct funding from the Exchequer.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould and party Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty have published a policy document which they say “delivers sustainable public sector broadcasting and an independent media sector.”
The issue will be debated during a Dáil motion this week.
Sinn Féin TD Paul Donnelly said that “financial scandals at RTÉ have rocked people’s trust and confidence in the national broadcaster and the TV licence.”
He said that the number of people refusing to pay the fee has “soared” in the aftermath of scandals at RTÉ.
Figures from January show that TV licence fees were down 13% in 2023, leading to nearly €20 million in lost revenue for RTÉ.
Donnelly said that 60 people face prosecution each day for non-payment.”
“A staggering 13,000 people were summoned before the courts last year while no one has been held to account for the incredible waste of public money at RTÉ,” he said.
“Government parties are actively considering replacing the licence fee with a new household charge to be collected by Revenue – they are determined to continue seeing people prosecuted for non-payment.”
Donnelly says “this needs to stop, and we need a funding model that delivers and sustains vibrant and diverse public sector broadcasting and an independent media sector.”
He said that the public wants to see “decisive action” on the issue, and have “had enough of the mixed messages from Government
“I am calling on Government TDs to support our proposals to abolish the licence fee with immediate effect and instead directly invest Exchequer funding in a platform-neutral Media Fund, which would support RTÉ and TG4 as well as public service content production and activities of commercial, local and community providers, and introduce a legal amnesty from prosecution for those who have not paid their licence fee.
“It is now time to act. The Government must scrap the TV licence and fund RTÉ and other public service media through direct Exchequer funding.”