RTÉ Restructuring Plans Face Backlash

Plans announced by RTÉ to close its Lyric FM station at its Limerick City base and move it to Dublin and Cork have been met with criticism.

The restructuring comes amid plans by the broadcaster to reduce costs and tackle the financial crisis over the next three years.

Lyric FM is a national classical music and arts service that has been based in Limerick for 20 years.

Local Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan said the move must be resisted.

"We have to come together and fight this, RTE is a national public service broadcaster and not a Dublin public service broadcaster," Deputy O'Sullivan said. "The NUJ are meeting today and we need to fight back and keep the Limerick office and Lyric FM open.

"Lyric FM is part of the cultural fabric of Limerick and I cannot see how a once off windfall from closing the studio will generate enough money to cover the organizations financial difficulties."

Deputy O'Sullivan continued: "RTE's studios outside Dublin such as Limerick are essential for balanced regional development, and as the national broadcaster and not just a Dublin 4 broadcaster, RTE has a duty to represent all of us and this closure sends out the wrong message.

"Most state broadcasters such as the BBC have significant regional hubs outside of the capital city to give variety their output and the decision by RTE to scale back their operation to Dublin is wrong.

"Cuts alone will not restore the viability of the broadcaster and the Minister for Communications needs to seriously look at the funding model for public service broadcasting in Ireland."

It's understood that although production of Lyric FM in Limerick will cease, a new studio will open for news coverage.

The company hopes to reduce costs by €60 million, with plans to reduce fees paid to top on-air presenters, executive board pay cuts and consultations with staff and unions.

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