The Government’s bailout of RTE is, in essence, a full-blown surrender to those members of the public who have decided that they shall no longer pay a television licence. The €56m cash injection – coming on the heels of an announcement of wide-ranging job cuts – is necessary only and entirely because a large number of citizens have decided that they shall no longer be funding RTE directly. The Government has now been forced to dip into general funds to cover the shortfall, and, whether it realises it in this moment or not, RTE has been forced to accept that its operations will never attain the same scale again.
It is a significant moment, and while it may forestall a further deterioration in RTE’s position, the broadcaster will never again attain the dominant position that it is losing.
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