The head of RTÉ News and Current Affairs has defended the broadcaster's track record at producing Irish language content at an Oireachtas committee today.

Jon Williams told Comhchoiste na Gaeilge Gaeltachta agus Oileain that RTÉ employs more journalists working in Irish than any other news organisation.

He added the organisation supported 113 posts in the Gaeltacht between Raidió na Gaeltachta and Nuacht.

He said that RTÉ made more than 250 hours of TV news and current affairs content in the Irish language every year and had built a multi-platform Nuacht service.

He also said that RTÉ has tried to protect Irish language services despite the fact that its income had fallen by €100 million since the last TV licence adjustment.

He said that in 2021 there are 32 fewer journalists in the Dublin newsroom than there were a decade ago, while at the same time the organisation had increased its digital output.

During the same period, Nuacht reduced staff numbers by five.

Jon Williams also said that the Nuacht Budget in 2021 is higher than it was in 2018.

In November 2019, he said, RTÉ had to find €60 million in savings and as part of this it was decided to cut crewing for Nuacht by three days, which was a cut of less than 10%.

The real difficulty for Nuacht and for RTÉ in general, he said, was the loss of €50 million a year through the "broken" TV licence system.

Director General of TG4 Alan Esslemont told the committee that TG4 does not get adequate funding.

He also said that in the last 25 years TG4 did not build up any digital first profile and according to its board it has many challenges ahead.

In its submission to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, TG4 has requested extra funding and also that Nuacht TG4 should have a vision of its own.

He said that while TG4 and RTÉ co-operate very well together, ultimately TG4 needs control of editing in terms of its news.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said that according to a report from an Commisinéir Teanga, RTÉ had not fulfilled its legislative obligations with regard to providing services in the Irish language and was therefore in breach of the law.

Mr Williams said that under the Broadcasting Act, RTÉ is obliged to provide an hour a day which is the "equivalent" of 365 hours a year - the "equivalent" being agreed by RTÉ and TG4 in a protocol in 2018.

However, he said he would have to get back to the committee on this point.

The committee members agreed to ask RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes to appear before members on the issue.