Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has said that Minister Naughten’s focus must be on reducing the TV license evasion rate, and not increasing the annual fee.

Deputy Dooley was commenting after a number of media reports suggested that the Minister is considering using private agents to detect unlicensed TV usage, and to collect fees owed to the State.

“At present, nearly one in five households doesn’t pay their TV license. This compares poorly to other countries such as the UK where the evasion rate is less than 9%.

“In principle, I have no ideological issue with using a private company to reduce the evasion rate. However, I think that An Post should be allowed to bid for this contract as they have many decades of experience.

“I do not believe there is a need or desire among the public for an increase in the license fee. That is not what is needed right now.

“The upshot of any reduction in evasion rates must be increased funding for public service broadcasting in Ireland, and not just increased funding for RTÉ.

“There are many media outlets in Ireland providing public service broadcasting. While we need to ensure the financial security of the national broadcaster, there are other bodies who provide an excellent service and who should be allowed to access the license fee funding,” concluded Dooley.