herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

RTE U-turn sees 7 out of 45 staff keep jobs in young people's section

Ex-TwoTube presenters Stephen Byrne and Blathnaid Treacy
Ex-TwoTube presenters Stephen Byrne and Blathnaid Treacy

RTE has confirmed it will continue to make TV shows for young people, but on a much smaller scale, say sources.

In November, the state broadcaster said it was planning to outsource all TV programmes for young children and teenagers.

However, in a statement yesterday, RTE said there will be some form of "in-house production", although the Herald understands this will be "minimal".

The production will include recording continuity links between shows, but a radically reduced number of programmes made in-house.

It is believed the department has been reduced from 45 to seven staff.

The move comes after ongoing meetings between the station's Trade Union Group (TUG) and management committed to a "consultation period", which was due to end on Tuesday.

Key

The Young People's Programming office space was cleared out yesterday.

Later this month, RTE will begin meeting key players and production companies in the independent sector to tell them what sort of programmes it is looking for.

"RTE and the TUG are committed to working together to ensure that younger audiences continue to be served," said the broadcaster.

"RTE will continue to offer the RTEjr service on television, radio, and online/mobile for under sevens, as well as TRTE, the block of programming on RTE2 for 7 to 12-year-olds.

"Details of in-house production are still being worked on and the TUG and RTE have committed to quarterly reviews of the agreement.".

RTE is to hold a 'thank you' party for its Young People's Programming department today.

Former children's show presenter Blathnaid Treacy has said it was extremely difficult to see her close friends lose their jobs after the announcement was made at the end of last year.

The former TwoTube presenter revealed management at Montrose were angry with the way the situation was handled.

"It was just really devastating because lots of my colleagues lost their jobs, it was horrific, it was so horrible," she told the Herald.

"There was people in tears, people were really angry, even at management level, people were getting really angry at the way it was being handled and it was so upsetting to see."

The Bray woman left the Young People's Department just months before the announcement, after she and co-host Stephen Byrne decided to move on from their roles.

"But that doesn't make it any easier to see your pals in tears because they just lost their jobs.

"People had just got married, they've bought houses, they have rent to pay."

Blathnaid (28) felt the move to outsource young people's programming was particularly harsh as it came just before Christmas.

She pointed out that it is not easy to go from one television job to another in Ireland, because the industry is smaller than in other countries.

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