RTÉ bosses say complete sale of Montrose campus is 'unlikely'

By Fiona Frawley

October 12, 2023 at 11:29am

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RTÉ has made headlines again this week following the resignation of its Chief Financial Officer and threat of Montrose campus sale.

However, despite a €61 million drop in tv licence payments and reduced interim funding of €16 million until RTÉ produces its strategic vision for reform, broadcaster bosses say its 'unlikely' they'll consider selling their Donnybrook HQ.

Yesterday the news was confirmed that RTÉ's chief financial officer Richard Collins had resigned.

Collins was a key figure in the RTÉ payment scandal over the summer, when he was unable to confirm before the Oireachtas Committee exactly how much he was paid. At the time, he said his salary was  “in and around” €200,000.

A statement from RTÉ on the resignation read:

“Richard Collins has tendered his resignation as CFO of RTÉ. Richard will work on a handover and RTÉ is in the process of identifying a replacement CFO,” RTÉ said in a statement.

“Richard will assist in any ongoing processes to the extent that this may be required.

“We wish to thank Richard for his hard work and contribution to RTÉ over the past three years and to wish him every success in the future.”

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RTÉ funding

Finance Minister Michael McGrath has said that RTÉ funding is a “work in progress”, with any funds in excess of the interim €16 million dependent on the broadcaster’s strategic vision and reform plan.

For context, RTÉ spent €339 million in 2022 and expects to spend €350 million this year. Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning, RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst said that the broadcaster has €68 million on hand, but has been impacted by the drop in tv licence payments. As reported by The Independent, Media Minister Catherine Martin confirmed that RTÉ is facing a TV licence fee shortfall of more than €61 million for this year and next year.

Montrose Campus

As reported by the Irish Times, Bakhurst has said that a complete sale of RTÉ's Montrose campus is unlikely. Speaking before the PAC this morning, the director general said:

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“A strategic change of this scale requires considerable levels of financial modelling and deliberation; among the elements being explored is the sale of more of the campus – an issue that I know several of you have expressed an interest in.

“We are awaiting more up-to-date valuations, but early indications are that a complete sale of the Donnybrook campus is unlikely, and the repurposing of the current site will not be without challenges and significant costs.”

Header image via RTÉ 

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