RTÉ's Director General Dee Forbes is before an Oireachtas committee, where she is arguing that a delay in transition from a licence fee to a media charge of close to seven years is "completely untenable" for the organisation.

Ms Forbes and other executives from the broadcaster are appearing before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications this afternoon. 

She told the committee that licence fee evasion is now almost 13%, resulting in a loss of €25 million per year, and that a growing number of houses are not paying the TV licence but consuming public service broadcasting, such as sports events, online. 

Ms Forbes said that RTÉ's current challenges are a serious threat to the future of public service broadcasting at a time when public service media has never been more important, and has material consequences for the country's audio visual, sports and culture sectors. 

She said RTÉ does have a plan to address this, but that unless there is commensurate policy and legislative action then public service media will be potentially irrevocably weakened.

The broadcaster is seeking to reduce projected costs by €60 million over the next three years.

RTÉ's chief financial officer, Breda O'Keeffe said RTÉ was looking to save €60 milion over 3 years. 

That figure incuded €9/10 million in personell costs and a similar reduction in content and services. 

She said the broadcaster is also looking at other costs including procurement, policy changes and various other things. 

Later in the session, Senator Michael McDowell wanted to know if any of RTÉ's high earners had committed to a reduction in pay. Dee Forbes said that one was completed and the rest was ongoing. 

Breda O'Keeffe said they could not comment on individual cases but that the one that was completed took in excess of a 15% pay cut. 

Senator McDowell asked how long is left on the contracts of those high earners - Ms Forbes said they are all different, some are up for discussion right now and some early next year and the majority are in the next number of months. 

Seperately this evening, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland which represnts Ireland's independent radio stations has cautiously welcomed the planned commission but said RTÉ is not the only broadcaster producing public service content and said the remit of the Commission needs to look beyond RTÉ and focus on the future of all broadcasters with a statutory public service remit.

Speaking before the meeting, Committee Chair Hildegarde Naughton said the committee believes that the provision of balanced, impartial, well resourced and independent public broadcasting services is fundamental to our democratic society,  especially since the advent of "fake news".

She said the committee completed a comprehensive report in 2017 and made recommendations relating to the funding of public service broadcasting, and will revisit this issue today.

Earlier today, the Government announced it is to establish a Commission on the Future of Irish Public Service Broadcasting.

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton said the commission will consider how to best deliver and fund public service broadcasting into the future.