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RTÉ attacked over outsourcing plan

Irish pubcaster RTÉ is facing criticism over its plans to outsource all of its programming for young people to the independent sector.

Dee Forbes

RTÉ announced the cost-saving measure yesterday, with programming for children and teenagers on the national broadcaster’s channels RTÉjr and RTÉ2 set to be affected.

Around 15 freelance workers will see their contracts end next month, while eight RTÉ staff will remain in the young people’s department and 11 will be reassigned.

The move was quickly criticised by Irish politicians during the Order of Business in the Seanad.

Labour senator Kevin Humphreys questioned why RTÉ director general Dee Forbes did not mention the plan when she appeared before the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment earlier this week.

“I think it is utterly unacceptable that the director general was in front of the committee this week and made absolutely no mention that they would outsource children’s television,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden described RTÉ’s plan as a “retrograde step.”

“You can influence a nation through its children so if you take that influence away and outsource it to Britain or the USA to save money, it is a poor reflection,” Leyden added.

The RTÉ Trade Union Group (TUG) has now called on the pubcaster to withdraw its decision to outsource young people’s programming.

TUG Chair Shirley Bradshaw said: “RTÉ announced this decision last night. It came as a bolt out of the blue and was made without any consultation with trade unions

“There is no justification for the manner in which this decision was taken and this cavalier attitude to unions and staff only compounds the bad decision.”

However, RTÉ has said it is “not reducing its commitment to younger people’s programmes, nor its spend” under its plans.

Notable RTÉ children’s TV shows include Wanderly Wagon, Bosco and The Den with puppets Zig Zag.



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