An Post could get access to TV subscriber information in license fee crackdown

It is thought providers could be unwilling to hand over the data

An Post could get access to TV subscriber information in license fee crackdown

File photo of a Sky HD TV remote control | Image: Chris Radburn / PA Wire/Press Association Images

An Post could be given unprecedented access to cable subscriber information, under proposed new laws to crackdown on license fee evasion.

The Irish Independent reports it is one of the proposals being considered by the Department of Communications.

It is believed new legislation could give An Post access to data from Sky, Virgin and Eir.

However, it is thought the providers could be unwilling to hand over such information.

This comes after the State broadcaster revealed it saw a deficit of €2.8m last year, which included a "static income" from the licence fee.

Kevin Bakhurst, deputy director-general of RTÉ, said: "Evasion levels (14%) and the steady increase in homes without a television set are creating a critical environment for RTÉ and its ability to support the wider cultural sector in Ireland."

"Without a meaningful review of public funding, RTÉ will remain financially challenged, and unable to maintain or increase investment in the sector," he added.

The Department of Communications confirmed last month that it was scrapping plans for a new broadcasting charge.

It had been planned that the fee would replace the €160 TV licence, and would have had to be paid even if households did not own a television, and regardless of the device they use.

Independent broadcasters are calling on the Government to reform the TV licence.