Private TV licence fee collection leads to intimidation claims Laois TD

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Householders face intimidation by private collectors if the TV licence fee collection service for RTÉ is privatised, according to Laois TD, Brian Stanley.

Speaking in Leinster House on the future funding of the public service broadcasting, Brian Stanley TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Communications, said he was opposed completely to such measures as privatise collection of the TV licence and raising the licence fee. He said householders have paid the price in the UK.

“Actions such as privatised collection or an increase in the licence fee, where hard pressed householders will be hit most severally, I will reject. There are other options open to deal with the 15% evasion rate which would remove any reason to increase the cost of the licence.

“In Britain, the BBC have privatised collection and it has resulted in reports of over £100,000 in compensation being paid out because of intimidation used against householders by private collectors.

“This is not the route we should be taking to decrease the evasion rate. Intimidation and aggressive behaviour at people’s homes as previously reported in Britain is a prime example of where a privatised model of TV licence collection could go.

“RTÉ need to look at alternatives to increase compliance. Sinn Féin has put forward workable proposals to improve collection of the licence fee. RTE further need to look at reducing some of its outgoing costs, such as the excessive wages some presenters are in receipt of currently," he said.

There is also speculation that the Revenue Commissioners would take over the collection service from An Post.