RTE lying through teeth on Ireland’s EU contribution, ignoring official State figures

Department of Finance Statistics for 2020 state Irelands EU net contribution was 693 million euro and Ireland is a net cash contributor since 2013. These figures were published in Mid December 2021 and are published on an annual basis.
However RTE article at the end of October 2021 says we only gave 360 million and a contributor for 3 years. (link below)
European Council figures show that Ireland has a potential debt liability of 18.7 billion euro and will receive back less than 1 billion euro from the EU Recovery fund. RTE only mentioned we are getting 1 billion but not the liability.
The Irish Freedom Party believe that citizens should be given accurate information by the State broadcaster so they can make an informed decision about Ireland’s political direction.
As a party we don’t agree that people should be misinformed by national broadcaster and disgraceful there is no independent oversight of its Online news output.

See below an email exchange of a complaint about RTE’s online article which hugely diminished Ireland EU contribution.
I was able to show official stats from Dept. of Finance and links about EU recovery fund liability etc. but even when pointed out to them, RTE completely dismissive.

I pointed out 2 full errors and 1 major omission.

When pointed out Ireland has been a net contributor since 2013 not 2018, ie 8 years not 3 years as per RTE headline and article…
Brian Dowling, head of editorial standards at RTE did give this nugget:

‘Stating that Ireland has been a net contributor for “the past three years” is not to suggest that Ireland hadn’t been a net contributor before that time. ‘

Please find below 2 email exchanges with RTE in following emails.

For your information, the EU Court of Auditor / European Commission figures are always lower that national figures because they do not contain VAT or Custom receipts from Ireland as the EU classes them as “Own Resources” to which the EU has a right, even though it’s money paid by the state or Irish people.
To top it all off, when I put links to Department of Finance document on comment section of new website article, I have since been blocked by RTE from commenting online.

President of the Irish Freedom Party, Hermann Kelly said: “It’s farcical and unacceptable that the national broadcaster would mislead people about basic facts in our relationship with the EU. In addition, not having any independent oversight of their online news output reduces confidence in verification of their stories. The Stickie Station of Montrose clearly needs a good shakeup.”

Hermann Kelly

Public Sector Receipts from and Payments to the EU Budget

Budgetary Statistics 2020
From Department of Finance
Published on 17 December 2021
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e28e5-budgetary-statistics-2020/

Request for corrections to RTE News article.
Inbox

Hermann Kelly 

Tue, Oct 26, 2021, 3:52 PM

to newsonline, complaints

Dear Sir,
In the news article below by Tony Connolly it asserts:

1 Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU for the past three years
This is untrue. Ireland has been a net contributor to EU budget since 2013.  That is 8 years not three years.
Says who? Dept. of Finance stats office.
Department of Finance “Budgetary Statistics 2018”  published on 14 November 2019, table 10 shows that Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU budget since 2013, and in 2018, Ireland was a net contributor of 720 million euro.
re: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/d46ac1-budgetary-statistics-2018/

Our NET payment to EU budget in 2019 was €684 million.
See table 10 in Dept of Finance document Final and full figure.
EU Budget contributions
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/cde43-budgetary-statistics-2019/
“Ireland’s payments to the EU budget in 2018 amounted to €2.5 billion, resulting in a net contribution of €0.7 billion. On a per capita basis, this is equivalent to €148 per person. Ireland is the second highest gross contributor per capita in the EU. Ireland became a net contributor in 2013 and since then (net) payments have increased significantly.”

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/70cad-annual-report-on-irelands-transactions-with-the-eu-in-2018/

2. It claims “Ireland’s average net contribution from 2018-2020 stood at €377 million”.

Final not estimate of Ireland’s 2020 contribution will be out in Nov/ Dec this year.
Dept Finance report on EU contributions

2018 Net Contrib  720 million euro (final figure)
2019 Net Contrib €684 million euro (final figure)

According to govt website https://whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie/en/debt/2021/
2020 EU Contributions will be 2.57 approximately. Final figure out in Nov / December 2021
Lets approximate Net Contribution of 700 million in 2020

720 + 684 + 700 = 2,104
2,104 divided by 3 = 701 million. Almost twice what you have it article.

3. Article talks of 915 million in EU grants. But fails to state that Ireland was second highest per capital contributor to the EU recovery fund and has taken on a potential debt liability of 17.7 billion euro. That is a huge omission, which ought to be made right.

Kind regards

Hermann Kelly.
President
Irish Freedom Party

Ireland a net contributor to EU over past three years
Updated / Monday, 25 Oct 2021 21:09

Ireland’s average net contribution from 2018-2020 stood at €377 million
By Tony Connelly
Europe Editor
Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU for the past three years, with the state paying €360 million more into the EU budget in 2020 than it received, according to the latest report by European auditors.
Figures show that Ireland’s average net contribution from 2018-2020 stood at €377 million.
However, Ireland is expected to receive some €915 million in grants from the EU’s Covid recovery fund until the end of next year, and the state also received €2.47 billion in loans from a European Commission fund to protect against unemployment risks during the pandemic.
The European Court of Auditors (ECA), which has published its overall report on EU expenditure in 2020, said Ireland will receive some €1.165 billion in grants from the fund set up to support countries most affected by Brexit.
These receipts are considered separate to EU budget expenditure and will not affect Ireland’s net contribution figure for 2020.
Overall, the annual auditors’ report showed that total EU expenditure in 2020 was €173.3 billion, an increase in €14.2 billion compared to 2019, or some €385 for every EU citizen.
Ireland contributed €2.615 billion towards the EU budget and received €2.255 billion.
“That doesn’t take into account the far wider range of benefits associated with our EU membership,” said Ireland’s member on the ECA Tony Murphy.
“These [include] the single market, addressing challenges like migration, terrorism and climate change together, as well as relating to better infrastructure and a coordinated EU response to issues such as the Coronavirus pandemic.” …..[….]
https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/1025/1255818-eu-auditors-report/

Department of Finance “Budgetary Statistics 2018”  published on 14 November 2019, table 10 shows that Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU budget since 2013, and in 2018, Ireland was a net contributor of 720 million euro.
re: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/d46ac1-budgetary-statistics-2018/

Our NET payment to EU budget in 2019 was  €684 million.
See table 10 in Dept of Finance document Final and full figure.
EU Budget contributions
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/cde43-budgetary-statistics-2019/
“Ireland’s payments to the EU budget in 2018 amounted to €2.5 billion, resulting in a net contribution of €0.7 billion. On a per capita basis, this is equivalent to €148 per person. Ireland is the second highest gross contributor per capita in the EU. Ireland became a net contributor in 2013 and since then (net) payments have increased significantly.”

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/70cad-annual-report-on-irelands-transactions-with-the-eu-in-2018/

Dept Finance report on EU contributions

2018 Net Contrib  720 million euro (final figure)
2019 Net Contrib €684 million euro (final figure)

According to govt website https://whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie/en/debt/2021/
2020 EU Contributions will be 2.57 approximately. Final figure out in Nov / December 2021
Lets approximate Net Contribution of 700 million in 2020

720 + 684 + 700 = 2,104
2,104 divided by 3 = 701 million

ENDS @@@@@@@

Hermann Kelly

Re: EU Budget Article

Complaints
Wed, Oct 27, 2021 at 7:25 PM
To: “hermannkelly”
Cc: Complaints
Dear Mr. Kelly,

I refer to your email of October 26 last concerning the article on Ireland’s contributions to the EU.

We have checked with our Europe Editor and RTÉ stands over the report.

Stating that Ireland has been a net contributor for “the past three years” is not to suggest that Ireland hadn’t been a net contributor before that time.

The figures quoted in the text have been extracted from the following European Commission source:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/about_the_european_commission/eu_budget/2021-06-15_spending_and_revenue_ord_retroactive.xlsx

This represents the EU spending and revenue data 2000-2020 as published by the European Commission.

The opening sentence of the report states –

Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU for the past three years, with the state paying €360 million more into the EU budget in 2020 than it received, according to the latest report by European auditors.

This is based on a direct quote from Ireland’s member of the EU Court of Auditors, Mr Tony Murphy

“For Ireland again it is a net contributor of EU funds, as has been the case for the last three years. In 2020, this contribution is 360 million euros, which basically means we have contributed 360 million euros more than we have received back.”

Furthermore, references to the gov.ie budgetary statistics – Receipts from and Payments to the EU Budget clearly states the following note:

“National annual figures may differ in some instances to European Commission published figures. This is due to a number of factors including different accounting periods and practices.”

Finally, your statement:

“Article talks of 915 million in EU grants. But fails to state that Ireland was second highest per capital contributor to the EU recovery fund and has taken on a potential debt liability of 17.7 billion euro. That is a huge omission which ought to be made right. “

RTÉ has put this to the EU Court of Auditors, which states it is not aware of the basis for this statement.

Our report is an accurate and impartial account of the figures provided by the EU Court of Auditors.

Yours Sincerely,
BRIAN DOWLING
Head of Editorial Standards and Compliance
Ceannasaí um Chaighdeáin Eagarthóireachta agus Comhlíonadh

Admin Building, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin D04 P297

Hermann Kelly

Nov 2, 2021, 5:28 PM

to Complaints

Dear Mr Dowling,

Thank you for your email and apologies for getting back to you later than I had hoped. Family and work got in the way.

Issue One
On the first point of your email… I was able to show using final figures from the Department of Finance, both annual budget reports, the summarising up to 2019 Dept. Finance document on EU contributions and if needed I could also point to comments by the Minister of Finance showing that Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU budget since 2013.

Between the 2 statements:
A Ireland has been a net contributor for three years.
B Ireland has been a net contributor for 8 years.

Only statement B, ie 8 years is correct.  To state “the last three years”, is to suggest that something has altered  between years 3 and 4 which isn’t the case.
We know that Ireland has also been a contributor between years 4-8, so it is correct to state Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU budget since 2013, ie the last 8 years.
To say the last 3 years is incorrect.

Your suggestion that ”Stating that Ireland has been a net contributor for “the past three years” is not to suggest that Ireland hadn’t been a net contributor before that time. ”
The implication because the word only does not appear in the headline makes it ok is not correct.
There is statement and evidence go leor that Ireland is a net contributor for the last 8 years and this should be corrected.

The veracity of the 2 statements and 1 omission is in question. I think if quite irrelevant if RTE Journalist Tony Connolly is happy with his own work or the approval of a member of the European Court of Auditors.
The European Commission figures, as referenced in the article fails to include Ireland’s contribution in VAT payments or Ireland’s contribution in custom tariffs collected in Ireland as the EU Commission likes to call these “Own Resources”.

Issue Two.
“Article talks of 915 million in EU grants. But fails to state that Ireland was second highest per capital contributor to the EU recovery fund and has taken on a potential debt liability of 17.7 billion euro. That is a huge omission, which ought to be made right. “
RTÉ has put this to the EU Court of Auditors, which states it is not aware of the basis for this statement.

I must first apologise for a mistake on my part. The text should have read “a potential debt liability of 18.7 billion euro”. If I make a mistake I am happy to correct it because it maintains credibility.

The 18.7 billion figure is the potential debt liability arising from Ireland signing up to EU Recovery Fund in July 21 2020. Final European Council document is here
Regarding the REGULATION (EU) 2021/241 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 February 2021 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32021R0241&from=EN
See Annex 1-4 (L 57 / 52-55)

The Initial (Commission) agreement was Ireland would be potentially liable for 18.7 bn euro and would receive back up to 2 billion in grants/ 1 billion and loans
[In an European Commission document circulated at the European Council it is clear that Ireland has taken on a liability of net €15.7 billion net to be repaid (between 2028-2058).

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/economy-finance/assessment_of_economic_and_investment_needs.pdf see page 51]
See  the statement by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD in response to a question by Micheal Fitzmaurice TD. 28th July 2020
https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-07-28/227/#pq_227

Minister Donohoe
In May 2020, the European Commission produced a needs assessment underpinning the proposed “Next Generation EU”. In this needs assessment the European Commission estimated that Ireland’s contributions to the Next Generation EU package would in the region of approximately €18.7 billion over the next thirty years and estimated that Ireland may potentially receive a total of up to €2 billion in grants, with a further €1 billion in loans available up to 2024 should Ireland decide to borrow same. However, these amounts were overtaken by the European Council agreement of 21 July 2020.

This initial Commission proposal was overtaken by final Council agreement in which Ireland would get back 1 billion in grants.
A blog post by the respected pro-EU think tank Bruegel.org did an analysis of the funding that member states will receive from the European Commission Recovery Fund.
Ireland will receive significantly less that the envisioned 3 billion euro under the initial Commission proposal.
The total debt liability will remain at 18.7 billion euro.

Link to article here: https://www.bruegel.org/2020/07/having-the-cake-how-eu-recovery-fund/
if taxes are not raised or loans are not repaid from the payback period 2028 – 2058 and that is a gross €18.7 billion.
It is misleading to tell people we will receive 915 million euro in grants while omitting to add in how much the country is liable for in the years ahead and therefore the omission of the 18.7 billion euro potential debt liability should be inserted in the article.

Whereas the matter of potential debt liability of 18.7 billion euro was noted in the Sunday Times, Independent, Examiner, Gript etc I cannot see as yet the specific debt liability incurred by Ireland’s participation in the EU recovery fund has ever been laid out by RTE News online.
Example of article re issue in Sunday Times
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ireland-to-put-nearly-19bn-into-eu-covid-recovery-fund-qx29s7hvp

Issue Three
Does RTE accept the final figures of the Department of Finance in regards Irish contribution to the EU budget over the last number of years and will they be published ?

I would ask that RTE correct these issues and omission raised above.

Kind regards

Hermann Kelly
President
Irish Freedom Party

@@@

Complaints

Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 6:26 PM

to me, Complaints

Dear Mr Kelly,

As noted in my reply – RTÉ stands over the accuracy of our report on the figures provided by the EU Court of Auditors.

Yours Sincerely

Brian Dowling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *