RTE funding model cannot be ‘sticking plaster solution’ – Simon Harris

The future funding model of RTE must not be a “sticking plaster solution”, the Taoiseach has said.

Simon Harris made the remarks as RTE waits for a decision on the model after the broadcaster published a road map for reform.

Asked for his opinion 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 do accept that the ball is now back in our court and I do think, in fairness to RTE and what RTE staff have gone through over the last period and the stressful period of time, I do think the ball is now back in our court in terms of making a decision on a funding model for public service 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: “Any thing we do needs to be sustainable.

“There’s no point doing something that makes public service broadcasting sustainable for a few years but find out we’re back where we began.

“Like we have to factor in things like demographics. For example, we have an ageing population.

“Quite rightly, people of a certain age aren’t asked to pay the licence fee. I support that. That will obviously have to continue if the licence fee remains.

“But that needs to be factored in as that demographic bulge may grow into the future.

“There can’t be a sticking plaster solution, there has to be a sustainable model.”

He added: “We need to fix this for public service broadcasting – not just for RTE but it also has to be linked to continued ongoing reform in RTE.”