New year's ends with a bang... and a €3,584 bill
IT marked the end of The Gathering and RTE spent €3,584 on guests to complete its 2013 New Year's Eve Show.
The figure was released under the Freedom of Information Act and shows that the State broadcaster also spent €525 on drinks for guests on December 31 during its live festive programme, as well as an additional €168 on four bottles of Champagne used to "celebrate 'on-air' the ringing in of the New Year".
RTE stated that the loosening of the purse strings to obtain the bubbly "should be classified as a prop as opposed to an alcohol cost".
Panel guests on the night included Love/Hate actress Aoibhinn McGinnity, Liveline's Joe Duffy and journalist Noirin Hegarty, who spoke from a set at Dublin's College Green.
TV presenters Laura Whitmore, Daithi O'Se, Sinead Kennedy and Will Leahy took over from former host Miriam O'Callaghan and counted down the final moments of 2013 for viewers and there were live links to Limerick throughout the production as music acts including The Coronas, Dolores O'Riordan and rock band The Strypes took to the stage to perform for the masses.
Hundreds watching the live programme at home on the night took to social networking sites to vent their frustration at Montrose for deciding not to prioritise the live music in College Green - such as MKS, aka the Sugababes, and Ryan Sheridan.
Last night, RTE also declined to reveal any outside broadcast unit and staging costs in the broadcast of the show, stating that "these costs are considered a significant part of the overall cost of the programme, and therefore must refuse this aspect of your request on the basis of commercial sensitivity".