Councillor calls for emergency meeting to discuss closure of RTE’s Limerick studios

Ryan O'Rourke

Reporter:

Ryan O'Rourke

Emergency meeting of Limerick Council will be held tomorrow to discuss RTÉs decision to relocate Lyric FM and close the Limerick studio

A Councillor has called for an emergency meeting of Limerick Council to be held, in order to discuss RTÉs decision to relocate Lyric FM and close the Limerick studio next year.

The news was announced by Labour Councillor Conor Sheehan.

“I have collected the required number of signatures and will be requesting an emergency meeting of the Council tomorrow to discuss RTÉs decision to axe the Limerick studio and relocate Lyric FM,” said Cllr Sheehan on his Twitter account.

“I have collected the required signatures and will be formally requesting an emergency meeting from Corporate Services. This is a serious situation and there are 30 peoples' livelihoods at risk. Lyric FM has been a valuable part of the city for the last twenty years,” Cllr Sheehan said.

“As Councillors we have a number of questions that need to be answered such as why RTE has decided to significantly scale back its Limerick operation rather than selling off some of their more valuable land at Donnybrook and why the Minister has repeatedly put license fee reform on the long finger. RTE management has also behaved disgracefully by not consulting with their staff or the NUJ about these vicious cuts. 

“I am also calling on our TD’s and Senators, particularly those from the Government party to demand that the Minister for Communications intervenes to save the Limerick studio and stop the downscaling of Lyric FM. This goes against Project Ireland 2040 and balanced regional development and it must be resisted,” he added.

In a statement to the media on Wednesday night, RTE said that it is to shut its Limerick studio and split Lyric FM between Cork and Dubin, a move that has been met with widespread criticism.

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan said that she has asked for a debate in Dail on RTE's plans for "sweeping cuts", adding that they were "not inevitable and we need public debate on public broadcaster and response from Government".

Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan said it was a slap in the face for Limerick.

“The closure of the Lyric FM studio in Limerick is not acceptable and abandons RTÉ commitment to the regions as it retreats to D4. What economist can tell me that it will be cheaper to produce material in Ballsbridge than at the Cornmarket in Limerick? Along with their middle class, D4-focussed output, this decision shows how D4-centric the organisation is in its productions and now in its proposed future.

He said that the "world-class facility" in Limerick city should be retained, adding that he is concerned about job cuts.

"Any job cuts must be carried out in full consultation with the relevant unions. If RTÉ truly want to be a national broadcaster, it must retain its presence in the regions and Lyric FM must stay in Limerick.”