The current level of TV licence evasion is estimated to be 14.6%. While the rate has fallen from 15.3% at the end of 2013, it is still very high and equates to a loss of €40m per annum to public service broadcasting.
To address this issue, my Department has been working with An Post and RTÉ on an on-going basis to ensure that the TV licence collection system is working as effectively as possible. Measures such as marketing campaigns, more evening and weekend inspection and appointment of additional temporary inspectors are just some of the initiatives that have been utilised to enhance sales and improve compliance rates.
While these measures are important steps, I believe that the current system needs to be reformed. As the Deputy will be aware, I obtained Government approval last year to draft a number of legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Act 2009, including amendments for the tendering of TV Licence fee collection.
The proposed amendments were considered under Pre-Legislative Scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & Environment and I received their report on 8 March. My officials are considering the contents of this report and it is also being considered by Parliamentary Counsel in the drafting process.
As the Deputy is also aware, I requested the Committee to examine the longer term issue of the future funding of public service media. The Committee published their report at the end of November 2017.It was debated in the Dail on 29 March and I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly.