To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the aspects of the television licence fee reform the interdepartmental working group is reviewing; when he expects this report to be published; if there will be engagement by the group with stakeholders; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on public service broadcasting; his further views on licence fee reform; when he will publish his action plan points in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on appointing the Revenue Commissioners as the licence fee collection agent to help reduce evasion rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I propose to take Question Nos 201, 202, 204, 205, 207, 210, 211, 213, 216, 217 and 219 together.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action & Environment examined the longer term issue of the future funding of public service media, which included a period of public consultation and stakeholder engagement. The Committee published their report at the end of November 2017.
Following consideration of the recommendations made in that report, Government approval was received in July 2018 to establish a Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting.
The group is chaired by an Assistant Secretary from my Department and comprises senior officials from the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting forms an important input into the work of the group. There are no plans, therefore, for any further stakeholder engagement by the Working Group. The group will examine the following options for the future funding of public service broadcasting and collection of the TV Licence fee:
The group will also examine the following related issues:
The Group is meeting monthly to consider of all of the issues set out above. It is intended that the Group will report back to me in Q1 2019 and I will revert to Government at that stage.
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