THE DECISION to close the Lyric FM station operation in Limerick has been put on ice for the moment after the Government asked the board of RTÉ to defer it.
Plans to close the Cornmarket Street studios were announced last month as part of cost cuts of €60 million by the national broadcaster. Staff were to be given the option of moving either to Dublin or to Cork to continue in their jobs.
The government this week announced the establishment of a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting and asked that no decision be made until it brings forward proposals in September of next year.
Limerick Fine Gael TD Tom Nevill said he was very glad that the government supported the call to suspend the closure of the Limerick studio.
“It will give time and space this to be looked at and time and space to allow for a forensic examination which I’m sure will prove us all right in relation to keeping the station in Limerick.”
The move was also welcomed by Limerick Labour Party TD Jan O’Sullivan who said that the Government had seen sense and intervened with additional funding and asked RTÉ management to defer their short-sighted decision.
“However, I cannot stress how important it is for the Government to act on license fee reform and not to use the Commission on the Future of Public Service Broadcasting to kick the can down the road.”
City North Councillor Conor Sheehan (Lab) said that having organised an emergency Council meeting against the closure, he was glad that the Minister has listened to local concerns.
“A full frank and open dialogue is needed over the next year between RTÉ management and the Department of Communications including divulging the cost of moving Lyric to UL to find a way forward for the station in Limerick.”
Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne said the request by the Government was timely considering the studio was due to close in 2020.
“I know this will be welcome news for the 20 full-time staff that are based in the studios and their families in the lead up to Christmas. I have been lobbying Minister Richard Bruton and RTÉ management to reconsider this decision.”