RTE is facing another massive bill.
This time, it’s €40m for a new building the station says it has to construct at its Donnybrook headquarters.
The new multi-storey facility, already nicknamed the Tower of Babble by RTE workers, will accommodate the hordes of politicians who have taken to hanging around the station hoping for an invitation onto one of the daily current affairs shows.
“They’ve become quite disruptive,” an RTE said.
“There can be dozens of them, all trying to get invited onto Morning Ireland and Today with Sean O’Rourke and the News at One and Five Seven Live and all the tv shows like Six One and Prime Time and Clare Byrne and the Week in Politics and so on.”
“They just walk around in circles all day practising their lines,” the spokesman added.
A visit to an area outside the radio studios showed that the station does indeed have a problem.
There, twenty or so well-known politicians were huddled against the rain repeating over and over again lines like “I didn’t interrupt you” and “ There are no easy answers” and “We want to see a wide range of options right across the board.”
Another group could be heard telling each other “That is why we’re putting in more money in real terms than any previous administration” and “Looking at a comprehensive raft of measures” and “The dire situation we inherited from the previous administration” and “Let me at this stage be absolutely open and honest.”
Nearby, a few well known journalists were sitting calmly drinking de-caff sugar and glucose free coffee from recyclable cups wondering if any of them would get the call to go on one of the shows.
“We need the new building because we can’t have mobs like this blocking our entrances. What if real stars like Daithí Ó Sé or Ray D’Arcy are coming in? They shouldn’t have to wade through riff raff like Government ministers and political correspondents.”
Building might be delayed, however, as Paul Murphy, Clare Daly and Richard Boyd Barrett have objected to plans to put their accommodation on the right side of the building.
“The plans show signs instructing members of PBP and Rise and The Socialist Party and other left wing organisations to ‘turn right’ when they arrive. We’re not having that,” he said sitting down in front of a car he believed to be on the main Stillorgan Road but which was actually on the Fair City set.
And Sinn Féin has said it will not tolerate the bathroom facilities being called Mary Loo.
It is also understood that the journalists have objected to the café being provided for them, having only one Michelin star.