Irish broadcaster RTE has revealed it cost €207,754 to send its act to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act and show in detail the cost of the Irish participation in Malmö.
€70,000 was paid by RTE to the European Broadcasting Union to take part in the competition before any of the further costs incurred by the Irish delegation.
Ryan Dolan and 16 others, including a make-up artist, vocal coach, drummer and dancers, stayed at a hotel in the city at a cost to RTE of €37,089. The broadcaster spent €7,386 on flights and also picked up a food, drink and taxi bill of €18,542.
Another cost to the broadcaster was the €74,737 spent on the Late Late Show in February this year, when Ryan Dolan was selected as the country’s representative with his song, Only love survives.
The costs involved for RTE this year are down from last. RTE spent €254,000 on sending Jedward to Azerbaijan in 2012.
But the cost of Irish participation in Malmö has nonetheless caused debate, especially as RTE’s debts are said to stand currently at around €60million.
Sinn Féin politician, Martin Ferris, while in favour of participation, urged a rethink on the large spend. I do think we should stay in the competition, as while we don’t do well some years, there is a chance of winning which would be great for showing off Ireland to Europe, he said. But the money spent does seem to be very excessive, and I would worry about that. I would like to see RTE explain that.
A spokeswoman for RTE defended the cost. The Eurovision Song Contest represents excellent value for money for RTE and for Irish television licence fee payers, she said, although the broadcaster has declined to confirm the actual amount spent.
Ryan Dolan finished last in the grand final of the competition with 5 points. Journalists in Ireland have quipped that each of his 5 points cost the broadcaster €41,550.80.