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Royals tell-all RTÉ blasted for buying Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Oprah interview for 'bargain' price of under €10K

"Even if it's less than €10,000 there still should be a national interest into why they should be spending such money, and I don't think the royals are."

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Meghan and Harry have spoken about the life as members of the royal family with Oprah (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Meghan and Harry have spoken about the life as members of the royal family with Oprah (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Meghan and Harry have spoken about the life as members of the royal family with Oprah (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

RTÉ has come under fire for buying the Irish rights to show the much-talked-about Harry and Meghan interview tomorrow night despite insiders revealing they snapped it up for a bargain basement price of less than €10,000.

The national broadcaster will screen the two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey on RTE Two at 9.30pm on Monday night, which is half an hour after it begins screening on ITV in the UK.

This comes nearly 24 hours after the controversial chat first aired in America on the CBS network.

The British rights sparked off a bidding war with the BBC pulling out when it surpassed £1 million (€1,160,000).

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Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan generated a bidding war for screening rights.

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan generated a bidding war for screening rights.

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan generated a bidding war for screening rights.

Labour and Sinn Féin spokespersons last night told the Sunday World they will be putting in Dáil questions to Communications Minister Catherine Martin and also writing to the RTÉ board to find out how much the broadcaster paid for the programme, and also questioned why they are showing it in the first place.

A TV industry insider revealed that the programme would have been bought for as little as €10,000 or even less.

"It's called an acquisition and given it's been screened already in the US, and is been shown earlier on Monday night on a UK channel which is easily accessible in Ireland, then we are talking about less than €10,000 and it could even be half that."

RTÉ has declined to confirm how much they spent on it, with an insider there stating: "RTÉ acquired the programme at acquisition rates which are a small fraction of what Irish programming costs. Fees are based on a very small market size, so this has come in at the same level as any other acquired programme."

But the screening has met with fury from Labour Communications and Media spokesperson Marie Sherlock.

"The RTÉ highlights programme on the League of Ireland has been axed on Monday nights, so the decision to purchase the rights to the Oprah interview is all the more frustrating," Ms Sherlock told us.

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Labour’s Marie Sherlock

Labour’s Marie Sherlock

Labour’s Marie Sherlock

"I doubt the highlights match costs very much to produce and serious questions do need to be asked now about how money is spent on commissioning Irish content, in general, in supporting Irish soccer."

Ms Sherlock said she will be writing to the RTÉ board to find out how much they paid for the programme and their justification for it.

"Given the vast majority of houses have Saorview or subscription do have access to UK channels it does seem remarkable that RTÉ would buy the rights to broadcast the interview, particularly at the time when RTÉ is looking at its own costs and having to reduce them," she pointed out.

"Even if it's less than €10,000 there still should be a national interest into why they should be spending such money, and I don't think the royals are."

She said she would not get time to watch the programme herself as she has three small children and generally only gets to watch the news.

"Of course, there is some interest in this and some Irish people are curious about the royals and (they) are a source of fascination and do some good work but in terms of their private life I'm not interested in them" she smiled.

Sinn Féin Communications spokesperson Imelda Munster told the Sunday World she won't be watching either and will be tabling a question in the Dáil to the minister about it.

"RTÉ are continuously crying poverty and the big question is how much they paid for it," she stressed.

"Perhaps they think there will be interest in it, but why buy the rights when it's going to be on other channels such as ITV and also on social media apps, so was it wise to spend money on British royal family gossip."

CBS have already confirmed that the "tell-all" interview will focus on Meghan's experience in the public eye.

The two-hour interview, Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, airs 8pm American eastern standard time, or 1am Irish time.

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