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Matt-er of Fact Mattie McGrath slams RTÉ's 'brass neck' over proposed licence fee reform

Mattie McGrath was speaking as the State broadcaster is set to propose an increase in the TV licence fee this week

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath

An independent TD has said that RTÉ has a “brass neck” looking for an increase to television licencing fees when the country is “struggling.”

Mattie McGrath was speaking as the State broadcaster is set to propose an increase in the TV licence fee at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee on Thursday as it would help the station become more financially stable.

Financial information shows that €223.6m in licence fees was collected in 2020, with almost 90pc going to RTÉ (€196.6m - 88pc).

Deputy McGrath argued that every other sector is suffering as a result of the pandemic too.

“I think they have a brass neck to go for looking for an increase of that magnitude at this point in time, when everybody's struggling, every company is struggling,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

“And indeed not out of the pandemic, in the midst of a pandemic really.”

He said that he has received a “phenomenal” amount of complaints about RTÉ in recent weeks.

“The amount of complaints I got over the Christmas was phenomenal. I think people have grown weary of RTÉ, and I also question their independence anymore. Their content leaves an awful lot to be desired.”

He claimed that the broadcaster has been unfair to people with who have questioned the handling of the Covid pandemic in Ireland by simply dismissing their views and labelling them as anti-vaxxers.

“Just take in the recent 18 months with the pandemic: the one narrative was 100pc on the show, every show.

“And nobody with any alternative view - [if] anybody tried to have a question, or even brilliant and eminent doctors, they were just dismissed as anti-vaxxers.

"And they didn't have any balance, none whatsoever," he added.

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