The previous government was bad and we all thought that it can only get better, but it is amazing how incompetent and useless the majority of the Irish politicians are. Many were hoping that the Labour Party would give a social component and a balance to the policies of Fine Gael, but then Pat Rabbitte became Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and he just seems to screw up everywhere.

I had hoped that a Labour Party Minister would be a little more careful with Ireland’s Natural Resources, but identical to his Fianna Fail predecessor Rabbitte just gave licenses for oil and gas away for nothing, squandering the few resources that Ireland has and giving them as a present to big commercial companies. But if you thought that was enough of a screw-up you were wrong. Rabbitte, who is also responsible for RTE and is in charge of the TV licence re-organisation is again showing his incompetence. I dare to say that apart from the job holders, nobody thinks the ridiculous salaries in RTE for people like Pat Kenny, Marianne Finucane, Ryan Tubridy, Joe Duffy etc are justified. Nobody apart from the people themselves AND Pat Rabbitte. Because instead of sorting out RTE, reducing their budget and forcing them to justify their existence, he wants to give them MORE money.

The TV licence fee should be a thing of the past. It might have had its justification when the TV and radio stations were not commercial entities, but RTE is as commercial as TV3, just that RTE delivery in a lot of aspects even worse quality. So, the TV licence fee should be reduced or abolished OR if it stays in place then ALL TV and Radio stations should be allowed to apply for part of the funds and get fair subsidies. It is ridiculous that each household is financing a commercial Radio and TV station with EUR 160 per year.

But it comes worse! People that can’t afford licence fee and cable TV charges etc currently have the option not to have a TV and then don’t need to pay. Rabbitte wants to change that. Probably from around middle of this year he wants to force everybody to pay a “Broadcast fee”. And all that money goes exclusively to RTE! So even if you never in your life watch RTE or listen to RTE, you will have to pay them a minimum of EUR 160 per year. The justification that Rabbitte uses is that we don’t need to have TV anymore to watch RTE. But has he not realised that young generations are not interested in RTE in its current form anymore?

Now, who are the people that currently don’t pay the licence fee and will have to pay it in future? The majority is people that have limited financial means. The rest has a TV and already pays the licence fee. So the Labour Minister has left his social principles and ideologies in the cupboard and instead sides with the rich and overpaid in RTE. Odd!!

Interestingly RTE has estimated that up to 15pc of households do not pay the TV licence fee – even though 99pc of houses allegedly have a TV. So that means the government is incapable of getting the money and for that reason they a new fee is introduced. If the RTE figures are right, then Rabbitte’s argument that the new fee is needed to capture the people that have no TV is a lie. He even claims even those without a TV, benefit from “publicly-funded, public service broadcasting”. Nonsense!