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Pensioners quit Dublin community radio station after being asked to pay a members charge to volunteer

Two Dublin pensioners have walked away from their beloved neighborhood radio reveals after they have been requested to pay a members cost to volunteer on the station.

John Healy labored with Near FM, which serves the Dublin North East space, for round 10 years, first coming to the station on a CE scheme earlier than working there on a voluntary foundation for the final 4 years.

The 69-year-old informed Dublin Live that the station introduced in a rule lately asking volunteers to affix a media co-op at a value of €5 a month.

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John and his colleague Noel McGuinness mentioned that they each left their roles in March of this 12 months after they have been requested for this cash.

Mr Healy mentioned: “I got an email from an administrator to say this and I said that I was already working for free of charge, I’m giving my time for free and I don’t see why I should pay to do that.

“I said if I have to go, I have to go. I’m not paying to volunteer.

“He started comparing it to a GAA club saying if I was in one or a Men’s Shed that I’d have to pay a fee. But that’s a completely different thing.

“This is a community radio station and I’m providing a service. He should be paying me.

“There was no point in me hanging around to give these people time to replace me so I gave my key back and I was off.”

John was upset to go away his listeners as he actually beloved being on the radio however as a pensioner he determined that he wants to make use of his cash on extra important items like meals and heating.

“When you do a show you make contacts, you don’t like leaving them so I kept it up. Parents, local people were phoning in so I wanted to keep in contact with them,” he added.

Noel McGuinness stop every week after John due to the brand new rule introduced in.

The man, who turns 79 this 12 months, informed Dublin Live: “It’s to do with principle. I worked there for 27 years and I’m retired now. I’ve heard of PAYE but not PAYW, Pay as you Work.

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“This all happened a couple of weeks ago. I did all the outside broadcasts. I did a festival in St. Anne’s Park, I’d the van, we went out and we did it. I did Blooms every year in Phoenix Park too.

“I did two shows a week after I retired, Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00am until 1:00pm. It was mostly interviews. I never missed a day. The more I think about it, the more irritated and disappointed I am that I was treated like that.

“I do miss the work, I miss the interviews, it kept my mind active during Covid. I was looking for stories, something different all the time, politics, general news, the diversity was great.”

A spokesman from Near FM informed Dublin Live that the station was keen to supply a less expensive membership charge of 50c per week if folks couldn’t afford to pay €5 per 30 days and would nonetheless be completely happy to have each males again.

They mentioned: “Near FM is a not-for-profit members’ co-operative and charity.

“A members’ month-to-month cost was launched with the overwhelming majority of members in favour of this.

“The small month-to-month sum helps us to pay payments and be rather less reliant on grants and different funds. The cost is normally €5 per 30 days however could be much less if an individual can’t afford €5.

“This is common practice in community media in Ireland and around the world.”

He added: “There was a meeting in 2020 which everyone was invited to with membership fee on the agenda, and it was discussed and there was broad agreement.

“With points like radio promoting falling drastically, the co-op have been on the lookout for different methods to construct a sustainable funding mannequin.

“Ultimately, they chose to leave, and as far as I understand, it was a matter of principle. But even now they could still come back and talk to us about a way forward.”

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