Recent revelations by national daily The Irish Independent have placed broadcaster RTÉ in a bit of a fix and will undoubtedly lead to public scrutiny. The newspaper recently gained access to information concerning the tab picked up by state broadcaster RTÉ, following their participation and coverage of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Details leaked surrounding the costs incurred by the Irish delegation are apparently stirring up something of a controversy, putting the already strapped budget of the broadcaster under significant additional financial pressure. In the face of financial difficulties, RTÉ chose to budget soberly when sending Irish entrant Niamh Kavanagh and her entourage to Oslo earlier in the year. The size of the Irish delegation was kept to a strict minimum, with only 15 members which on average, wass only half the size of other national delegations.
What the broadcaster hadn’t accounted for however, was the exorbitant cost of amongst other things accommodation in the Norwegian capital. Expenses for accommodation amounted to €33,400, with further €20200 to cover the delegations food and plane tickets. The invoice came to a grand total of €207,365. Costs also included in the final total were an additional €73000 participation fee to the EBU as well as a similar amount for the staging of the Irish selection process.
It’s no secret that the Irish economy is presently experiencing hard times, and as a result of an €18,297,000 funding defecit at the end of last year, RTÉ have been forced to make unpopular cuts to their budget in order to bring their economy back on an even keel. When confronted with such apparently high participation costs, a spokesperson for the broadcaster defended their decisions claiming that they had indeed done their utmost to keep expenses to a minimum. One time winner Niamh also had her say on the matter, stating that although the figures appear exorbitant, the amount of airtime hours which the programme generated, coupled with audience figures at over 1,1 million make these costs easily justifiable.
Niamh Kavanagh managed to bring Ireland to the final with her entry It’s For You for the first time since 2007, but only managed a disappointing 23rd place.