TV licence sales continue to plunge, leaving €6.7m shortfall in RTÉ funding

Sales of TV licences in first four months of 2024 are 15 per cent down on same period last year

Sales of TV licences were down 15 per cent in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period last year as a result of the continuing fallout from the RTÉ payments and governance crisis.

Figures supplied by An Post, which collects the licence fees, show that approximately 256,783 households paid the licence fee between January and April 2024, compared to 298,285 in the first four months of 2023.

That amounts to a shortfall of some €6.7 million in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

A series of secret payments to the former RTÉ broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, some of which were channelled through a barter account, was first disclosed on June 22nd last year.


The 2023 figures reflect the period before the controversy came to light. In the wake of the disclosures, the number of licence fees collected fell precipitately. The data supplied by An Post, which is published on the Government’s website, show that collection figures fell 40 per cent each month between July and October, before recovering strongly in the final two months of the year and in January this year.

In the final week of July, at the height of the controversy, only 2,077 licences were bought by households, about one-seventh of the figure of 14,151 for the same week in 2023.

However, the recovery in the number of collections has not been sustained and the figures for 2024 are substantially down compared to the same period last year.

This has been received politically as a reaction to the continuing impact of controversies over payments and governance which have affected the broadcaster since then, including the resignation of former chairperson Siún Ní Raghallaigh.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times