Broadcasting and Media in Ireland: Statements (Resumed)

For the purposes of clarification, I would not support a subsidy for local radio stations because we already collect one for a certain organisation and then subdivide it among another 32. That is, in effect, a subsidy. I am absolutely in favour of the abolition of the 2% levy, but I do not believe in subsidising commercial enterprises. I do not see the sense in collecting the licence fee and then apportioning the income across 32 other organisations.

It is already happening under the heading of sound and vision. Some 7% is going towards the independent sector.

It amounts to €3.7 million.

The wall has been breached.

There is a service provided, but I am not in favour of a block transfer. We must be careful that we do not end up using licence fee income to subsidise 35 organisations.

Surely the Senator wants to improve local news and sports content.

I am sorry, but I should not have allowed in Senator Tony Mulcahy.

I am absolutely in favour of the abolition of the 2% levy, but I do not believe in subsidising the other organisations.

Sitting suspended at 4.25 p.m. and resumed at 5 p.m.