Shock stats reveal number of people ordered to appear before court over not paying television licence fee last year
- Published: 15:41, 6 May 2023
- Updated: 15:41, 6 May 2023
ALMOST 15,000 people were ordered to appear in court last year for not paying their television licence, new stats show.
Media Minister Catherine Martin has revealed that in 2022 An Post applied for 14,915 summonses for failure to cough up the €160 fee.
In response to a parliamentary question, she also confirmed the number of cases heard in court last year was 9,610.
She said: “An Post makes every effort to reduce evasion and issues a number of reminders to evaders. Prosecution through the courts is a last resort.”
The number of people who appeared before a judge over non-payment dipped significantly during Covid due to a lack of court activity.
However, the latest figures are up on 2019 when 14,015 court summonses were issued for failing to pay their license, but only 6,068 cases were actually brought to court.
The current system sees An Post collect the payments from households but suffers a 15 per cent evasion rate.
RTE has previously called for reform of the TV licence system as it was “not working”.
The station said that “there isn’t a sustainable future for RTÉ” unless the public funding model is overhauled.
However, the new Chairperson of the RTE Board Siun Ni Raghallaigh told the Dail’s Media Committee last month that while there were significant challenges ahead, there were also big opportunities for “reimagining a new RTE.”
On changes to the TV licence fee and how it is collected, Siun Ni Raghallaigh said that there were no “magic solutions” but warned that “the nettle has to be grasped at some point” to change.
She claimed that the licence fee of €160 has not been increased in a number of years which leaves RTE forced to absorb increased costs of production from inflation.
In the same hearing, Fianna Fail TD Christopher O’Sullivan rapped the broadcaster for constantly showing reruns of Killinaskully and The Big Bang Theory as he declared that the number of repeats had been “driving me mad.”
He called for more original Irish content to replace reruns of Home and Away and The Simpsons.
Ni Raghallaigh said that the broadcaster is currently carrying out a strategic review and will consider all issues including repeated programming.