RTÉ says 'much is at risk' as it sees deficit of over €19m

It claims Brexit has "greatly reduced" its commercial income

RTÉ says 'much is at risk' as it sees deficit of over €19m

The RTÉ campus in Donnybrook, Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The State broadcaster RTÉ had a deficit of €19.7m last year.

It has blamed this on "external factors", such as the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

It claims Brexit "greatly reduced" its commercial income in the second half of the year.

Its annual report says: "It was always going to be a challenging financial year" given the commitments across 2016.

These included 1916 Rising commemorations, the Olympic Games and the 2016 general election.

But it says the "planned deficit" was made worse by a number of largely political "external shocks".

The report says: "The market has contracted sharply since the June Brexit vote impacting negatively on the year’s financial results which was an overall net deficit after tax of €19.7m".

And it says public funding in 2016 remained "broadly static", with no improvements in TV licence collections.

"With evasion at 14%, the number of 'no-TV homes' now at 9% and very high costs of collection, Ireland has one of the worst performing TV licence systems in Europe", it claims.

In total, it says it is losing over €50m a year in lost licence fee revenues.

Director-General Dee Forbes says: "Much is now at risk. The persistent failure to reform the TV licence system has and is costing jobs across the sector".

The report says wages and salaries last year cost the broadcaster €127,590,000.

It also spent €21,594,000 on 'Sports and other copyrights', and €8,013,000 on music licences.

The broadcaster had an average of 1,706 full-time employees - an increase from the year before, when it only had 1,643.

It was announced in March that it was to cut 200 jobs as part of restructuring.