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RTE head calls for €15m investment in TV drama

RTE director general Dee Forbes
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The director general of Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE has called for the creation of a €15 million (£12.6 million) development fund for drama, warning the country’s public-owned media is “on the precipice” after almost a decade of government cuts.

Dee Forbes’ comments were made in her keynote address to the Celtic Media Festival held earlier this week on the Isle of Man.

Calling for new funding from government in addition to income generated by the television licence fee, Forbes said RTE “does not commission enough drama”.

She added: “I want to do more. I want our dramas to be more diverse and more ambitious. I want RTE to be a leader in developing and supporting drama, along with others. Therefore, there is a need for increased investment.”

The additional money, she claimed, would enable the national broadcaster to commission an additional 60 hours of drama annually, including flagship prime time series, new comedy-drama and continuing series.

RTE has seen income from its licence fee funding fall by a quarter to about €330 million (£278 million) in the past financial year despite estimates of more than €150 million (£126 million) being generated by inward investment into Ireland’s audio-visual sector.

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