Town Council Cathaoirleach urges RTÉ to retain presence in Dundalk

Councillor Marianne Butler is very concerned with recent revelations that RTE intend to close their radio and television suite in Dundalk as part of a drive to cut spending costs

Councillor Marianne Butler is very concerned with recent revelations that RTE intend to close their radio and television suite in Dundalk as part of a drive to cut spending costs

Councillor Marianne Butler, Cathaoirleach, Dundalk Town Council has urged RTÉ not to abandon their links with the northeast by closing their studios in Dundalk as part of a drive to reduce costs at the State broadcaster.

Councillor Butler said she was “very concerned” to read national newspaper reports suggesting that the Dundalk radio and television studio suite – along with others in Athlone, Sligo and Waterford – could be closed as RTÉ seeks to cut spending. The Council Cathaoirleach is to write to Tom Savage, the Louth man who chairs the RTÉ board, seeking his support for the retention of a meaningful RTÉ presence in Dundalk.

“While I fully understand that RTÉ is not immune from the economic conditions and the fall-off in advertising revenue, it occupies a unique position in Irish national life and that is recognised by the revenue stream from the TV licence fee. If they are to meet the commitment of providing relevant programming to all of the country then maintaining a presence in the northeast region is vital.”

Councillor Butler added, “This is not simply a Dundalk matter as over 380,000 people live across Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan which are covered from the northeast studios. In addition, there is the considerable strategic importance that Dundalk has in north-south relations given our location close to the border with Northern Ireland and midway between the two largest population centres on this island.

“It will be a bad day for the northeast but also for RTÉ if the decision is taken to end their links with Dundalk and I would urge all involved to engage with local stakeholders to ensure that RTÉ maintains a strong presence in the region. I would be happy to facilitate representations in this regard.”

While they had a smaller unstaffed operation at the same site from 1989, RTÉ opened their northeast regional studios at the Ramparts in April 2004 following Richard Dowling’s appointment as northeast correspondent during the previous year.