RTÉ recorded a surplus of just under €8 million last year because of a reduction in operations due to the Covid pandemic.

The annual report for 2020 shows that total income of €342m, through TV licence and commercial revenue, actually fell by €11m between 2019 and 2020.

However, there was a €28.5m reduction in operating costs.

The postponement of special events, such as the Olympics and Euro 2020, also helped in recording a net operating profit of €7.9m.

RTÉ's Director General Dee Forbes said: "Longer-term funding issues for public service media remain acute and urgent.

"For RTÉ, the achievements of 2020 will fuel the drive to ensure that the funding of public media is put on a firm footing. Future generations deserve a strong, independent Irish voice."

The report shows that commercial revenue fell by €11.3m to €135.5m due to "market contractions relating to the pandemic and changes in media consumption".

Licence fee income only went up by €400,000 despite the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection increasing payment for free television licences for older people by €10m, which was a part-reversal of previous cuts.

The report stated that the RTÉ Player saw a 36% growth in viewership and that 90% of Irish people chose RTÉ as their primary source of information during the pandemic.

Chair of the RTÉ Board Moya Doherty said that 2020 was the year when empathy and connection emerged as defining elements "our audiences showed us, perhaps more clearly than ever, what they value and what they need from their national broadcaster".