Funding indigenous content and improving TV licence collection rates are necessary in the public interest, according to the vice chair of the Oireactas Communications Committee.

Fianna Fáil TD James Lawless said the future of public service broadcasting needs to be secured through a better funding model and ways to reduce evasion of the licence fee.

Yesterday, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten said public service broadcasting is in "deep trouble" because of unsustainable revenues.

Addressing a Dáil debate on the future funding of broadcasting, he said the current levels of TV licence evasion of 14.6% were unacceptable.

The committee has issued a number of recommendations in a report, including giving the Revenue Commissioners a role in the collection of the licence fee.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Lawless said the evasion rate in Ireland needs to brought in line with other countries such as the UK, where it is 5%.

Last year, €40 million was lost due to evasion.

Mr Lawless said it was important to have programmes of cultural, sporting and regional content available as an alternative to foreign content.

He said the the bulk of funding for public service broadcasting comes from the "old fashioned TV licence", which he said is based on having a television set in a living room.

This, he said, is outdated as so much content is consumed on phones and other devices.

In the model proposed, the fee will go to a "public service pot" for the production of any domestic quality content - not just RTÉ - and potentially including newspapers.

He said the committee recommended that collection of the licence be handed over to Revenue.

He said there are many ways to collect the fee, which is not a tax, and in some countries similar fees are collected as part of a utility bill.

However, he said after 18 months the committee did not see a willingness for this to happen and favoured linking the fee to Revenue.

Deputy Lawless said the Revenue has a "very efficient" system for collection and a high success rate.