If a cheque is written for RTÉ, it will be signed by the Accounting Officer of the Department, namely, the Secretary General. There is a service level agreement of sorts between the Department and RTÉ. Within that agreement, there is conditionality in respect of, for example, the percentage of money which must be spent on the Sound & Vision scheme.
My question relates to independent productions. The which goes to that sector has decreased from €80 million to €40 million. As already stated, that has not been without consequences. There are many independent production companies that hire young actors. There is a great deal of talent that we can showcase on the international stage. Some of the programmes that have been produced by these companies have been first class but they are being starved of money as a result of the cut in funding from €80 million to €40 million. Why can we not ensure that, as part of the service level agreement, more money is spent on independent production? RTÉ has stated that it does not have the money which means that we must return again to the issue of funding. Even with the funding the station has, greater investment should be made in independently-produced, quality programming that is made here and that creates jobs. Taxpayers' money must be spent much more effectively on this type of programming.