IRISH MIRROR REPORTS
Struggling RTE splurged more than €40,000 to win each of our measly five points at the Eurovision this year. The State broadcaster splashed out €207,754 to send Ryan Dolan to Sweden last month – where he flopped and came last.
And the Irish Mirror can reveal it ended up costing €41,550.80 to get each point for Only Love Survives – despite RTE being €60million in the red.
Martin Ferris has blasted the “excessive” spend – but insisted it is not time to quit the Eurovision just yet. He said: “I do think we should stay in the competition, as while we don’t do well some years, there is a chance of winning which would be great for showing off Ireland to Europe. But the money spent does seem to be very excessive, and I would worry about that. I would like to see RTE explain that.”
Figures released to the Irish Mirror show 17 people were sent by Montrose to Malmo for the Eurovision. RTE paid €37,089 to put up the extensive team – including Ryan’s make-up artist, vocal coach, choreographer, drummer and dancers – in the four-star Grand Hotel Malmo.
Montrose also spent €18,542 on food, drink and taxis while they were in Sweden, as well as €7,386 on flights for the Co Tyrone singer.
Yesterday, an RTE spokeswoman defended the Eurovision spend – and insisted the plush hotel was picked by competition chiefs. Bosses also pointed out costs are down from €254,000 spent on Jedward in 2011 – but they had the extra spend of going to Azerbaijan.
A spokeswoman said: “The Eurovision Song Contest represents excellent value for money for RTE and for Irish television licence fee payers.”
At least €70,000 was also given to the European Broadcasting Union just for taking part in the competition.
But, RTE refused to officially confirm the exact amount, claiming the information is “commercially sensitive” and could “prejudice the outcome or conduct of future negotiations”.
The Irish Mirror’s figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, also show that €74,737 was spent to select Ryan Dolan as our act on the Late Late Show.
More than 1.8 million viewers watched some part of the Eurovision final on RTE One.