- 07 Nov 19
The public broadcaster announced massive cuts and jobs and pay late last night, and the news has provoked a strong reaction from the public.
With the details having leaked to other media, RTÉ rushed out details of the sweeping €60 million cuts it plans to make last night.
As part of their revised 2020-’23 strategy, two hundred jobs will be shed next year, apparently on a voluntary basis; its top 10 contracted presenters will have their wages cut by 15%; RTÉ’s 2XM, Pulse, Gold, jr Radio and Radio 1 Extra offerings will be axed; the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will transfer to the National Concert Hall; RTÉ 2 will no longer carry sports coverage; and current efforts to sell the RTÉ Guide will be stepped up.
In a serious blow for Limerick where the service has been based since its May 1999 launch, the operation of Lyric FM will be split between Dublin and Cork.
That decision has been robustly criticised by Limerick Fine Gael TD, Niall Collins, who says: “Lyric FM was the one part of the RTÉ organisation which was decentralised successfully and now is a victim of its own success. I would ask the RTÉ Authority to reconsider this decision as the savings being generated don't seem material in the scheme of the overall RTÉ cost base.
"Limerick is Ireland's third largest city and to think that our national broadcaster would not have a base in the mid-west region is unbelievable. Operating a news and current affairs service can’t simply be done from the boot of a car or the side of the road."
The Rubberbandits, who are from Limerick and have, for a long time, supported the local service there, reacted to the news.
I fucking knew cancelling Lyric Fm, had nothing to do with classical music and everything to do with shutting down the RTE studios in Limerick. Terrible loss of a great facility, that makes things even more Dublin centric now. https://t.co/xlyTFIHFHa
— Rubber Bandits (@Rubberbandits) November 7, 2019
The RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes, says they're not leaving Limerick altogether, but "footprint downsizing" there.
In a sign of the changing media times, RTÉ player content will be enhanced, and an “integrated media centre” set up in Donnybrook as part of a new digital infrastructure.
Meanwhile, well-known presenter Rick O'Shea, who hosted a show on RTÉ Gold, spoke about the uncertainty of the changes.
You may have read this morning about widespread changes at RTE including the closure of @RTEGold.
I'm not going to dwell on it now mainly because we have no idea when that end will come or where I'll be moving to in RTE.https://t.co/2yH23xD53a
— Rick O'Shea (@rickoshea) November 7, 2019
RTÉ presenter Will Leahy, who helms the breakfast slot on RTÉ Gold, spoke about the cuts at the start of his programme this morning.
He told listeners: “In case you’re not aware RTÉ is making serious cutbacks. The service you’re listening to now will cease to exist." He also told listeners that many within the service where bewildered about their own future, adding: “Today could be our last day. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be the 31st of December. All I know is what I read in the papers.”