My response to An Post's demand for the TV Licence Fee
I've posted the letter now, so I'll let you know what happens next.
I received this letter in the post yesterday. Yesterday was September 6th, and you may notice the letter was dated August 31st. So it sat with them for almost a week before I received it. I have blocked out my address and the Licence Reference number.
My response was posted bright and early this morning, September 7th. I want to share it with you because in writing it I feel as if my voice has come back to its full strength. Yes, I wavered at the post box, needing to re-read my words a third time before I slid the stamped and addressed envelope into the mouth of the postbox. And I might regret posting this later today. It comes in waves, regret, like grief. However I stand by what I said here, and I think the regret is more about my having to have my say in this way, then actually saying it. It’s also about coming back into balance with my power. I’ll talk about that again another time. I don’t know what is going to happen next, after posting this, but it feels important to share my response here. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.
An Post TV Licence Records Office
7 September 2022
Dear An Post,
I am well aware that my TV licence has now expired.
I have been a law abiding citizen all my life and always paid my licence fee on time. However just as you quote the broadcasting act to me, I now must quote it back to you.
Section 3, 39 part 1, (a) and (b):
(a) all news broadcast by the broadcaster is reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of the broadcaster’s own views,
(b) the broadcast treatment of current affairs, including matters which are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, is fair to all interests concerned and that the broadcast matter is presented in an objective and impartial manner and without any expression of his or her own views, except that should it prove impracticable in relation to a single broadcast to apply this paragraph, two or more related broadcasts may be considered as a whole, if the broadcasts are transmitted within a reasonable period of each other,
And part 5:
(5) A broadcaster shall ensure that the broadcast treatment of any proposal, being a proposal concerning policy as regards broadcasting, which is of public controversy or the subject of current public debate, which is being considered by the Government or the Minister, shall be reported and presented in an objective and impartial manner.
Our national broadcaster has broken this act many times over the last almost 3 years. This pledge to us to protect us from the government, to hold everyone accountable, and to treat people as human beings and not as stupid children has not been held fast and strong.
It makes me physically ill to have RTÉ on in the house.
I have switched off all contributions by our national broadcaster over a year ago in order to keep my sanity at an even keel due to biased reporting, a fear- based outlook, neglect to present a balanced viewpoint and a belittling of the viewers intelligence. RTÉ has become a manufacturer of stress. They have a severe lack of accountability to the Irish people. And have gone so far off course that I personally believe they are doing great damage to the mental health of this country, and as a result of that stress, they are also doing damage to the physical health of our country.
Because of our national broadcaster, my mother is currently afraid to leave her home. I have had to de-programme her as if she had been brainwashed to feel that spending time with her grandchildren and with me would cause her to fall severely ill and die. Because of the top journalists in RTÉ I have felt like I am an enemy of the state, personally attacked for my choices. Choices which have been vindicated by the current release of data which, I may add, has still not been broadcast to the general public by our national broadcaster because it does not suit them to do so. This is a disgrace to the people of the highest order.
If it wasn’t for my strong connection to God the Irish national broadcaster would have broken my spirit completely. My mother is not the only elderly person in this country who has been reduced to a tentative and terrified life. What RTÉ has done is not fair and balanced reporting at all. Why should I contribute towards such a thing?
I have not been silent about this breach of the broadcasting act during these past 3 years either. I have written on numerous occasions not only to RTÉ themselves, but to the broadcasting commission also, to no avail. I wrote to our Taoiseach, the Tániste, the Minister for Health, Minister for Education and the President of Ireland. I received no response bar an acceptance of my communications. I have been completely ignored, pushed aside and gaslit and I am deeply upset and ashamed of my country, and angry at the destruction they have caused. I have sent individual journalists at RTÉ numerous letters and tweets to this effect, looking for fair and balanced reporting, asking for my questions to be answered, also to no avail.
So, An Post, you tell me exactly why I should support RTÉ and pay this licence fee when they have drastically let me down? And not just me, they have let down my family and all of the people of Ireland.
Where a contract is made there are two parties beholden to it. That is the nature of a contract. The contract to provide fair and balanced reporting in exchange for a licence fee has been broken by RTÉ. The contract to be the voice of the people has been broken. The contract to hold the government responsible for their actions has been broken. The contract hold corporations responsible for their actions has been broken too. As I have said, it makes me physically sick to watch the RTÉ News. To listen to any of the top reporters on radio or television is a cause of stress and distress to me. I have completely lost my faith and trust in RTÉ. They do not represent me. I do not feel that my payment towards the running costs for RTÉ is justified at this time.
When this is rectified, when my voice has been heard and the agenda of RTÉ shifts from being a government mouthpiece to being a fair and balanced reporting service for all of the people of Ireland, I will gladly contribute.
I want to feel welcome in my own country. Live and let live in our beautiful country without fear. Is that too much to ask in this day and age? I want to be respected for my personal choices, even if you personally disagree with them. I choose how to live my life and you chose how to live yours. I do not want to be made fearful of the weather, have my attention brought to the number of covid deaths per day, or made so afraid to leave the house in case of illness. We are stronger than an illness. We are not here to live safely but to live largely. Where has the debate gone? The strong Irish spirit that stands up for everyone?
I leave you with this quote from Patrick Pearse:
The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.
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I agree totally with you. I would not have purchased a licence except I am over 70 and the government gave me a free licence.
I stopped all RTE broadcasts even LYRIC . I will never listen to RTE again.
I wrote to them requesting to stop the fear mongering and wrote to the Broadcast authority to no avail.
God keep you safe.
A complete an fair analysis of not only RTE but MSM.
The did break the contract and need reminding they broke the bargain and the deal is finished.
Let them take you to court, if they dare.