RTÉ pay controversy: how the day unfolded, as broadcaster issues key statement

No finding of wrongdoing on the part of Ryan Tubridy who was not aware of the credit note provided by RTÉ to commercial partner.

Oireachtas Arts and Media committee and Dáil’s PAC each want to hear from Dee Forbes directly at hearings this week, when they question senior RTÉ executives about the debacle

17:11

Where are we now?

  • Former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes says she will not be attending Oireachtas hearings this week citing health concerns.
  • No member of the RTÉ Executive Board, other than the director general - Dee Forbes - had all the necessary information in order to understand that the publicly declared figures for Ryan Tubridy could have been wrong.
  • The director general verbally agreed (via video meeting) to underwrite the terms of the commercial arrangement.
  • This final aspect had been sought by the agent throughout the negotiations and there had been significant push back by RTÉ.
  • It will not explain the under-reporting of his pay between 2017 and 2019 as it is the subject of a separate review
  • The Grant Thornton review makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of Ryan Tubridy in relation to any payments made by RTÉ.
  • Ryan Tubridy was not aware of the credit note provided by RTÉ to the commercial partner.
  • The Grant Thornton review makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of the commercial partner.
  • Ray D’Arcy confirms his salary figures to date “have been reported correctly. When asked, I agreed to take a more than 15% cut in 2019. My current salary is 250,000 Euro.”
  • Aine Lawlor, Bryan Dobson, Mary Wilson, George Lee and Brendan O’Connor have all issued statements saying their publicly stated earnings from RTÉ are correct joining Claire Byrne, Joe Duffy and Miriam O’Callaghan in doing so.
  • Staff at RTÉ stage protests at Montrose and other regional offices.
  • You can find comprehensive coverage of the RTÉ pay controversy here.
Today’s best reads:

21:08

And from the Dáil, Miriam Lord reports that Tubsgate has Mattie McGrath reaching new heights of incoherence as TDs make their feelings about the developments known and prepare for Wednesday’s “sacrificial suits” offered up to Oireachtas committees.

“Other issues were raised in the chamber, but all were eclipsed by RTÉ's panic stations,” she writes.

With that, we will leave you until tomorrow, when we’ll be back reporting on the day’s exchanges.


20:54

Bryan O’Brien caught the NUJ-led protest on camera - you can watch above.


20:40

Here is Emmet Malone’s full report from Montrose, where RTÉ employees, including some familiar faces, were protesting.

Many are unhappy that undeclared payments were being made while they, in the course of attempting to carry out their duties, were often left under-resourced or told no money was available.

In the great, corporate scheme of things the few hundred thousand euro involved might not have made a tremendous difference to the wider public impression of RTÉ's output but it hurt, one speaker after another confirmed, to hear that it had been siphoned off to top up an already huge salary, Emmet writes.

Caoimhe Ní Laighin of the Irish language news department said her area often hadn’t an allocated camera at all at weekends and had to cadge favours from their English language colleagues.


20:09

Olivia Kelly has the full timeline, as outlined in the RTÉ statement, of who did what and when.

An interesting line: on July 20th 2022, “RTÉ paid, via the UK barter account, for the costs of hosting the Renault commercial sponsor events with Mr Tubridy in 2022. The actual cost of the events was €30,586. These payments were recorded in the barter account to the tune of €47,477, a cost to RTÉ.”


19:37

If you’re just catching up on the day’s events, political editor Pat Leahy has the key points from the report in his story here.


19:22

So, the report from the RTÉ board is long and comprehensive. Some of the key takeaways are that according to the report, no member of the RTÉ Executive Board, other than the director general - Dee Forbes - had all the necessary information needed to understand that the publicly declared figures for Ryan Tubridy could have been wrong.

This aspect of the deal, the report says, had been sought by the agent throughout the negotiations and there had been significant push back by RTÉ.

The statement says that the Grant Thornton review makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of Ryan Tubridy in relation to any payments made by RTÉ and says he was not aware of the credit note provided by RTÉ to Renault. The Grant Thornton review also makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of Renault.

The first of two Oireachtas hearings into this controversy takes place tomorrow when the report is likely to be gone through in some very, very fine detail. We’ll be back to cover that story.


17:53

Some key details of the report

“There has been much speculation regarding the awareness or involvement of members of senior RTÉ management and others in the these arrangements. The following sets out the position:

No member of the RTÉ Executive Board, other than the director general, had all the necessary information in order to understand that the publicly declared figures for Ryan Tubridy could have been wrong.

The contractual arrangements (2020-2025) with Ryan Tubridy were negotiated by the director general and the then chief financial officer supported by the RTÉ solicitor and approved by the director general.

The director general verbally agreed (via video meeting) to underwrite the terms of the commercial arrangement. Present at this meeting was the director general, two representatives of the Agent and the RTÉ solicitor. This final aspect had been sought by the agent throughout the negotiations and there had been significant push back by RTÉ.

Other than the director general and the commercial director no member of the Executive Board had knowledge of the two invoices (9th May 2022 and 6th July 2022 ), the payment of those invoices through the barter account, or any of the circumstances surrounding those invoices.

The commercial director has stated that:

Her knowledge of those matters was limited to the instructions received by her from the director general in connection with the payments in question.

Those instructions were received at a point in time when the arrangements on foot of which the 9th May 2022 and 6th July 2022 invoices ultimately came to be raised had already been negotiated and agreed and to which the commercial director was not party

Due to his editorial responsibilities the director of content was kept informed of the progress of the negotiations and ultimately signed the ‘Five Year Contract’ for TV and Radio services and the letter providing for the early termination of Ryan Tubridy’s previous Radio and TV Contract. He was aware of elements of the commercial agreement but not RTÉ's underwriting of it.

The current chief financial officer joined RTÉ in January 2020. At that stage key terms had been agreed and discussions were at an advanced stage before contract finally being approved by the director general. He had no involvement in the negotiation of the tri-partite agreement or in putting arrangements in place to facilitate this agreement.

The director of audiences, channels and marketing provided very specific input in relation to television hours for the Late Late Show. He was aware of elements of the commercial agreement but not RTÉ's underwriting of it. He did not at any stage receive the ‘Tri-partite Agreement’, the ‘Five Year Contract’ or any side letters.

The director of legal and the director of human resources were not involved in the negotiation of any aspects of these arrangements but were simply aware that negotiations were taking place. The director of human resources had no sight of any correspondence relating to the matter.

All these events predate the recent appointment of the current director of news and current affairs.

The director of operations and technology and the director of strategy had no awareness of or responsibility for any aspects of these arrangements.

RTÉ's solicitor’s office provides legal advice in relation to contracts for RTÉ and take instructions from the business. It does not have authority to set, agree or approve the terms of any contract.

The Grant Thornton review makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of Ryan Tubridy in relation to any payments made by RTÉ.

Ryan Tubridy was not aware of the credit note provided by RTÉ to the commercial partner.

RTÉ issued the credit note to the commercial partner in July 2020 which should have been publicly disclosed as part of Ryan Tubridy’s earnings for that year. RTÉ understands that Ryan Tubridy did not receive this payment from the commercial partner until 2021.

The additional payment to Ryan Tubridy for 2021 was paid in 2022 but in line with RTÉ's approach to the publication of the top ten earners it was attributed to 2021 in the recent restatement of Ryan Tubridy’s earnings.

The Grant Thornton review makes no finding of wrongdoing on the part of the commercial partner.


17:46

What was different in the case of Ryan Tubridy’s 2020-2025 contract negotiations?

In this instance, the Director General was directly involved in aspects of the negotiations, as is clearly captured in the Grant Thornton review. As outlined in the Grant Thornton review, in this instance there were in effect two contracts, the ‘Five Year Contract’ (between RTÉ and the Presenter) and the ‘Tri-partite Agreement’ (between the Presenter, Commercial Sponsor and RTÉ). In addition, this ‘Tri-partite Agreement’ was guaranteed and underwritten by RTÉ.

The details of how the ‘Tri-partite Agreement’ (October 2020 to 31 December 2021) was negotiated, approved and executed are contained in the Grant Thornton review. Below is RTÉ's understanding and of the summary and timeline of the negotiation process.


17:45

How does RTÉ typically negotiate the contracts of RTÉ's top 10 most highly paid on-air presenters?

Once it has been agreed in principle by the relevant editorial lead the process of negotiating the contracts of RTÉ's top 10 most highly paid on-air presenters is conducted by the CFO, with advice from the legal department. Input regarding the services required, such as, programming and commitments to hours of broadcasting would typically by provided by the relevant editorial lead – the Director of Content or the Director of News and Current Affairs and the Director of Audience Channels and Marketing. Final approval of fees to be paid to RTÉ's top 10 most highly paid on-air presenters is by the Director General.


17:44

The statement has landed. The opening is in the form of a Q&A.

How and when did RTÉ become aware of there was a problem?

As per the Board Statement, in late March of this year during a routine audit of RTÉ's 2022 accounts, an issue was identified in relation to the transparency of certain payments. The auditors sought further information and informed the Audit and Risk Committee of the RTÉ Board of their concerns. The Audit and Risk Committee promptly sought external legal advice and commissioned Grant Thornton to carry out the independent fact-finding review on the matter in question. RTÉ's auditors and RTÉ's financial oversight body, the RTÉ Audit and Risk Committee, identified a problem which was promptly investigated. The facts were established by Grant Thorton and their findings presented to the Audit and Risk Committee on Friday 16 June 2023. Those findings were then presented to the RTÉ Board the following Monday, which released its public statement correcting the misstated figures for Mr. Tubridy on Thursday 22 June 2023.


17:34

The list of people who have been invited to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday has been released.

Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media

Katherine Licken - Secretary General

Triona Quill - Assistant Secretary, Broadcasting and Media

RTE

Dee Forbes - former Director General

Adrian Lynch - acting Director General

Kevin Bakhurst - incoming Director General

Noel Curran - former Director General

Siún Ni Raghallaigh - Chairperson of the Board

Moya Doherty - former Chairperson of the Board

Richard Collins - Chief Financial Officer

Breda O’Keeffe - former Chief Financial Officer

Fiona O’Shea - former Commercial Finance Manager

Geraldine O’Leary - Director of Commercial

Willie O’Reilly - former Director of Commercial

Paula Mullooly - Director of Legal Affairs

Eamonn Kennedy - former Director of Legal Affairs

Rory Coveney - Director of Strategy

Anne O’Leary - Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee

Dr. P.J Mathews - Board Member


17:29

It’s like this right now.


16:55

So, just by way of an update. We have been waiting for a “comprehensive statement” from the RTÉ board for much of the day. Initially we thought it might land at 3pm. That didn’t happen. Just after 4pm, we were led to believe it would be issued “soon”. No sign of it yet.


16:39

We feel very betrayed.


16:03

News just in from Nibbles Correspondent, Nathan Johns.

RTÉ have cancelled a summer gathering for staff in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding hidden payments to Ryan Tubridy, he writes.

“A “drinks and nibbles” event was due to be held for news and current affairs staff on July 7th, according to RTÉ sources. The event was believed to be planned to make up for a lack of similar occasions in recent years, in part due to Covid concerns.

However, in an email circulated to staff on Monday, potential attendees were told that in consultation with the National Union of Journalists, senior staff made the decision to cancel the event “given the current events surrounding RTÉ.”

The NUJ has previously spoken of its disappointment in the revelations surrounding the public service broadcaster, with senior representative Seamus Dooley yesterday saying “”This is no way to run a circus, never mind a public broadcaster.”


15:13

Jack Horgan Jones has a story for us.

Various politicos and the great and good will trip down to an event in the EPIC Museum in Dublin’s docklands on Wednesday, where a new exhibition will be launched to mark the 60th anniversary of the JFK visit to Ireland. It’s the type of event that, in a different climate, would have had American politics buff Ryan Tubridy’s name written all over it.

Which is appropriate, because an early draft of the invite that has found its way into our hands has, er, his name all over it. It seems Ryan was originally down to host the event - but broadcaster and author Dearbhail McDonald has been drafted in instead.


15:06

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has repeated that former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes should attend Oireachtas committee hearings.

Mr Varadkar also said the fact that she is no longer director general of the State broadcaster “doesn’t mean that she cannot” appear before an Oireachtas committee.

Ms Forbes has said she will not be attending Oireachtas hearings over the coming days citing health concerns.

“If things were done that were wrong, and I believe things that were done were wrong, that needs to stop,” Mr Varadkar told the Dáil on Tuesday in relation to the pay scandal at RTÉ.

“It needs to change and people need to be held to account, and the institution needs to be restored and survive.”

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, the Taoiseach said the revelations from RTÉ last week “are deeply unsettling” and had shaken public trust in the institution.

He said “as far as we know” the issue of hidden fees related to only one RTÉ personality, Ryan Tubridy and this was “now being confirmed at the moment”.

The Fine Gael leader said he believed it was appropriate that Ms Forbes should appear before an Oireachtas committee to “tell her side of the story and give us her version of events”.

“That’s been done to an extent in a statement but I think people would like to ask more questions and interrogate that statement somewhat,” he said.

The Taoiseach was responding to Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty, who said in order for the public to have confidence in the information that RTÉ shares, the truth should be “fundamental” and “non negotiable”.

“Yet that trust now lies in tatters,” Mr Doherty said. “The revelations recently are an example of a cozy consensus and insider culture that has existed in this State for far too long.

“While many workers at RTÉ work hard day in day out, on ordinary salaries, it’s a very different story for those at the top.”

The Donegal TD said journalists on low-pay had been locked in trade union disputes fighting hard for fair pay and conditions and were being told by “RTÉ's top brass time and time again that there simply was no more money”.

“They and the public were told that the top presenters were taking big pay cuts, doing their bit to bear the brunt of the public funding squeeze,” he said.

“Now it has emerged that the money was there all along, just hidden in shady deals that prevented the truth from being known.

“Deals that ensured that those at the top were being taken care of without anybody else knowing about it.”

Mr Doherty said many questions remain unanswered and that Ms Forbes had “categorically misled” the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2022 in relation to the remuneration of the top earners at RTE. Sarah Burns


15:04

Minister for Arts and Media Catherine Martin has demanded that RTE reveal who knew about the payments to Ryan Tubridy, who signed off on them and who in the organization was involved.

Ms Martin said she will publish terms of reference for the external review in the coming days, and she would like to see an interim report when it is available. The full review could take until the end of the year, she indicated.

Ms Martin said that the review into top earners’ salaries would encompass all payments since 2008.

Asked if the salary of new Late Late Show presenter Patrick Kielty should be revealed, Ms Martin said this was an operational matter for RTE, but said she was in favour of the maximum transparency.

She said that she and her officials had been made aware of an issue in RTE as far back as March, but didn’t have exact details until last week.

Ms Martin said she wrote to the chair of the RTE board this morning to urge co-operation with the Oireachtas committees but avoided questions on Ryan Tubridy’s future saying that it was not her role as minister to comment on individuals’ situation.

Asked if former director general Noel Curran should appear before the Oireachtas committees, she said that anyone who could assist their inquiries should make themselves available. Pat Leahy


14:29

Another protest took place at RTE Limerick.

RTE’s Mid Western News Correspondent, Cathy Halloran joined colleagues outside the studios of Lyric FM at Cornmarket Row to voice their “anger and disgust” at the controversy which has seriously managed RTE.

Ms Halloran said the current scandal in RTE had damaged trust in the broadcaster, for which she has worked for almost four decades.

“I’m 36 years years in RTE this year with 30 of those years in Limerick, and one of the things I take very seriously is that people trust me to tell their stories - and if that trust is broken, that’s a very worrying development for all of us,” said Ms Halloran.

“We all work very hard, long hours, on demand, with news, and this development has stripped any sort of authority I feel I have had over those years, to try to tell (people’s) stories - the big fear facing us now is, who will believe us.”

Prior to the scandal, RTE faced sustained criticism from those opposed to its news editorial output, however Ms Halloran said she feared she and her RTE colleagues would face an increased social media backlash over a scandal that does not involve them.

“I think there is no doubt that will increase now. We have all faced challenges there, in the daily course of our work, where people are challenging us everyday and filming what we do, and telling us we are the virus, and now I fear that there will be an increase in that because of this whole controversy.”


13:41

Some major breaking news from Arthur Beesley.

Former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes has spurned a request to go before Oireachtas Arts and Media committee to answer questions on hidden payments to presenter Ryan Tubridy.

“She will not be attending due to health reasons,” said a spokesman for Ms Forbes in reply to questions. “We have informed the committee.”

The committee sees Ms Forbes as a key witness in its investigation into the Tubridy payments, which have plunged the national broadcaster into crisis.

Resigning from her post on Monday, she said the affair had taken a “very serious and ongoing” toll on her health.

Her decision not to go before a Wednesday hearing of the committee in Leinster House comes in defiance of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who have said she should attend.


13:35

Stephen Donnelly was asked about the crisis on the lunchtime news and he said today’s statement from the RTÉ executive this afternoon needs to be comprehensive and then the Grant Thornton review needs to be published as well

When asked if the Government had confidence in the RTÉ authorities, Mr Donnelly said the Government did have confidence in how the station was being run, but obviously serious questions had arisen.

“One of the things that Minister Martin is keen to emphasise, and I wholeheartedly agree with her, is that it is important that there are learnings from this and that RTÉ emerges from this in a stronger position.

“There has never been a greater need for public service broadcasting. There’s never been a greater need for verified news and current affairs in a world where more and more of what people are seeing online is manipulated or misinformation or disinformation.

“So my view and Government’s view is that RTÉ is central to our nation. It’s central to our democracy. And we must all ensure that as an institution it emerges in a strong position. And I know Minister Martin is looking at, obviously, a review of what happened in this case. And then more broadly in terms of governance within.” Vivienne Clarke


13:31

We have some more from Emmet Malone who is at the protest in Montrose.

“Prominent journalists including Orla O’Donnell, Sinead Hussey and Paul Cunningham spoke at the event. Ms Hussey, clearly emotional, said the day she got a job in RTE had been one of the proudest of her life but like so many others she had felt hugely let down by the organisation in recent days.

Mr Cunningham spoke of the impact the fallout of these events would inevitably have on the debate over future funding. Ms O’Donnell was one of many speakers to criticise management for their reluctance to speak on air or to staff directly about what had happened, why and who was responsible and called for all of the questions raised at committees this week to be answered.”


13:27

The Minister for Arts, Culture and the Media Catherine Martin has been speaking in the last few minutes and she warned RTÉ “not to squander” the chance to share everything it knows regarding the undisclosed payments to presenter Ryan Tubridy. She said the statement from RTÉ will land at 3pm.


13:23

A couple of hundred staff have joined a protest at RTÉ's headquarters in Dublin 4. The NUJ rep Emma O’Kelly told that gathering that they “don’t need a review to tell us, the staff about the culture of the organisation. We know because we’ve been on the receiving end and by that I don’t mean we were getting all the money.”


13:21

Lance this boil

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said there is more transparency needed in relation to secret payments made by RTE in order to “lance this boil”.

he said it was “absolutely vital in this scandal of governance over secret payments to one broadcaster, and whoever was involved in RTE, that public service broadcasting and the ordinary journalists and staff in RTE don’t become the victims of the wrongs that were done by a small minority at the top,” Mr Boyd Barrett said.

“And we need to lance this boil urgently. And that means full disclosure now by the RTE board and executives about exactly who sanctioned these payments. We know from Dee Forbes that she’s admitting that she sanctioned these secret payments from 2019 onwards, but that others were involved in sanctioning payments prior to that. So we need absolutely full disclosure, full transparency about all these payments, who was involved, and that should be published now.”


12:16

Speaking of expectations, we are expecting the RTÉ Board to release the widely flagged statement on what happened sometime today between 3pm and 4pm. We will keep you posted.


12:06

There will be two Oireachtas hearings this week. Jack Horgan Jones has some details of what we might expect.


11:19

If the phrase of the weekend was “due process” the phrase of today appears to be “drip feed”.

Fine Gael minister Simon Harris warned against it earlier and now, so too, has the vice chair of the Public Accounts Committee and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy. Speaking on Kildare FM within the last few minutes she said that the worst thing, for RTÉ and its staff, would be for a “drip-feed of information to characterise the inquiry into this debacle”.

She said Dee Forbes’ resignation statement raises further serious questions and it is important she attends the PAC hearing on Thursday to answer them.

“In her resignation statement, Ms Forbes conceded she was centrally involved in putting the arrangement, whereby a commercial partner was tapped to pick up part of Mr Tubridy’s salary, into place.

“Clearly, as the person who led this process, and was leading the organisation at the time, Ms Forbes is best placed to answer questions at the Committee.

“Ms Forbes has also intimated that the negotiations, now the subject of public controversy, were a protracted process and that multiple departments within RTÉ were involved.

“Clearly, there are those within RTÉ who have, or should have, all the relevant details about this process – and those individuals should also be at the PAC to answer questions on Thursday.

“The worst thing, for RTÉ and its staff, would be for a drip-feed of information to characterise the inquiry into this debacle,” said the Kildare North TD.

“Those with knowledge of the process, and the decision makers who signed off on this deal, must make themselves available to answer questions. “Some of those questions will be – how did RTÉ save money on this deal when any saving in 2020 was offset by a credit note issued to the commercial partner; why are we still in the dark about how Mr Tubridy received an additional €120,000 between 2017 and 2019; why does a State-funded public service broadcaster need such byzantine financial arrangements to pay salaries; and why was incorrect information about Mr Tubridy’s salary put into the public domain? “RTÉ, as a public service broadcaster, routinely demands transparency and accountability from those in public life.

“We should demand nothing less from the RTE executives whose actions have brought the organisation into disrepute,” she added. Vivienne Clarke


11:17

All paid for external work events undertaken by RTE staff should be published on an online register, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Ciarán Cannon, who sits on the Oireachtas Media Committee, said the public must be provided with all information regarding RTE’s on air talent who receive paid appearances for work and events which are not part of their role with the national broadcaster.

The Galway East TD said “impartiality has to overcome all concerns”.

“The revelations that a senior broadcaster in RTE received an undisclosed payment from a car manufacturer must surely give us pause for thought on how damaging these arrangements are.

“If a broadcaster is receiving payments from any corporate entity, then the public deserves to know, so that we can determine for ourselves whether that broadcaster can be trusted to be impartial when speaking on particular matters.

“I’m concerned that when these payments are made, impartiality suffers, and the public are kept in the dark,” he said.

He noted that in 2020, the BBC set up a register of staff earnings from external events. The initiative requires on-air talent in news and current affairs, sports news and radio journalism roles to declare earnings from work undertaken outside of the BBC, including speaking engagements or corporate events.

The online register records payments made for appearing as a moderator, host, speaker or interviewer, for chairing panels and for judging awards. It is published quarterly.

Mr Cannon said: “The board and executive of RTE have a major job on their hands in restoring trust in our national broadcaster.

“I believe that a key element of that work should be the establishment of a register of external payments, similar to that established by the BBC.

“There is no issue with anyone being paid for such events, but the viewing public needs to be made aware of relationships between broadcasters and private corporations.

“It is because of their high profile afforded by their roles and work within RTÉ that the on-air talent is offered external work. There is nothing wrong with these opportunities being afforded to them once it is transparent to the public what they have undertaken.”


10:23

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this morning that people have to be told everything about the hidden payments to Ryan Tubridy.

Arriving at Government Buildings he said: “We need to find out all the facts. What happened, who signed off on what, who was aware, where were the different points in time.”

He said draft Terms of Reference for an external inquiry have been drawn up and will “focus on two things - governance and culture.”

“How is the organisation run, what’s the relationship between the executive board and the board itself, and whether that’s appropriate, and then it’ll also look at issues around culture within the organisation.”

Mr Varadkar said the review would be carried out by “an external independent person or company” and that “it will take a few months to get it done.”

He stressed that there was “no suggestion that anything illegal happened here, but it could have breached accounting standards or ethical standards” adding that “I don’t think we should be jumping to conclusions or making any findings against any individual until we actually do know the full truth.”


09:46

Ray D’Arcy has become the latest RTE presenter to clarify his earnings.

In a statement he said: “This is a terrible mess. On a human level I feel for the people involved but also share the feelings of anger and disappointment of many people around the country and in RTE.

For the record, I haven’t got an agent.

All of my salary figures to date have been reported correctly.

When asked, I agreed to take a more than 15% cut in 2019.

My current salary is €250,000.”


09:37

Time to sound the excellent podcast klaxon.

Since news broke about the secret payments being made to Ryan Tubridy last week the national broadcaster has been engulfed in a crisis without precedent and - at least so far - there have been more questions than answers.

Slowly – very slowly – answers are emerging, suggests In The News presenter Bernice Harrison. She talks to political reporter Jack Horgan-Jones about how this debacle unfolded, the damage it has already done and what happens next.

The Tubridy payment scandal: what happens next?

Listen | 23:23

09:33

End the drip feed

The Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has called for RTÉ management to “end the drip feed” of information and come clean about who knew what in relation to undeclared payments to Ryan Tubridy. Speaking this morning, Mr Harris said it is important that there was an end to the issuing of statement after statement and instead to “put all the facts out there”.

But before that happens we can expect a fair few statements throughout the day.


09:29

And ahead of the publication of a new statement from RTÉ today Arthur Beesley looks at what are the key questions that need to be answered.


09:28

“The red light’s on Tubridy now. And it casts a sickly glow on his understanding of public service and the ethics of journalism.” Fintan O’Toole’s take on the crisis that has engulfed RTÉ and its top presenter over the last six days.


09:10

As has been widely documented, as part of the undisclosed payments to Ryan Tubridy the presenter agreed to make some public appearances involving the Late Late Show’s sponsor Renault. In the year the deal was in place he received €75,000 covering three appearances.

This is from Drogheda Life in May 2022. “Last Tuesday night was party time as Blackstone Motors hosted an incredibly entertaining evening with Ryan Tubridy and friends for a Late Late Show all of their own. Special guests included local hero and Louth GAA captain Sam Mulroy who shed some light on Louth’s stellar campaign.” You can read more about that here.


09:06

Also on Newstalk this morning, Trevor Keegan, chair of the National Union of Journalists sub branch in RTÉ, gave details of a protest that will take place at the Donnybrook campus today.

“We are as angry as the public. We are license fee payers as well. I think that’s why we wanted to show that this is a unified anger and disappointment and we are disgusted that this has happened in the first place.”

Most of the people who work in RTÉ were not on the level of wages that presenters were paid, he said.

There was widespread gloom in the station, people were upset including the team that worked with Ryan Tubridy who considered him a good colleague. “This is not a Ryan witch hunt, this is more of a wider problem, a culture that has been allowed to develop and permeate certain tiers of the organisation. But there is a general malaise and silence.”It appeared that the company was “awash with money” when it came to some areas and yet there were correspondents who did not have full time camera crews and some colleagues were looking for chairs. Most staff were on “bog standard pay” and had gone into RTÉ because of their passion for broadcasting, to create content. Day in, day out staff were doing their job to the utmost, he said.


09:05

Former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has expressed concern about how much money went through the so-called “barter” account in RTE Naughten told Newstalk Breakfast that he did not believe Ryan Tubridy was the only person to be paid out of the account.

He was particularly concerned that public money spent on public service advertisements during the pandemic could have been “kicked back” to advertising agencies. There had been scant respect for taxpayers’ money which had caused huge anger among the public. There was also anger within RTÉ at the “level of deceit and deception in terms of salaries” at a time when other staff were taking significant cuts.

Mr Naughten said he thought all senior management from RTÉ who had made these decisions should come before the Oireachtas committees and that Dee Forbes should attend “for her own reputation.”Under standing orders for the committees witnesses will be given a fair hearing and questions cannot deviate from the letter of invitation to them, he explained. Clarity and transparency were required as it appeared that nobody knew who signed off on the deal for Ryan Tubridy. - Vivienne Clarke


08:54

Most of RTÉ's top earning presenters have now outlined their earnings from the national broadcaster and confirmed that they are not the beneficiaries of any secret deals like the one which saw Ryan Tubridy’s income boosted by in excess of €300,000 over a six year period.

Claire Byrne, Miriam O’Callaghan, Joe Duffy, Bryan Dobson, Áine Lawlor, Mary Wilson, George Lee and Brendan O’Connor (pictured right) have all said their earnings - as they were reported in the Top Ten Earners list published in February - are correct.

The first of the presenters to outline how much they were being paid was Claire Byrne who opened her radio programme on Monday morning with a detailed breakdown of her earnings.

She noted that her most recent published fee was €350,000 but that had fallen to €280,000 after she dropped the Claire Byrne Live television programme.

She was also paid a separate fee of €25,000 for presenting Ireland’s Smartest.

After she made the announcement, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggested it might be “sensible” for other top-earning RTÉ stars to adopt a similar approach.

Joe Duffy addressed his own terms and conditions towards the end of Liveline in response to queries from a caller.

“The last published figures for me in 2021 were €351,000, 300 [thousand euro] of that is for radio and 51 [thousand euro] is for whatever they asked me to do on television... that’s the figure in my contract.

Miriam O”Callaghan released a statement in which she said that “for the purpose of transparency, honesty and clarity, I want to put on the record that my most recently published fee from RTE - €263,500 - is correct, as are the published fees for previous years. I have never received additional payments from RTE that were not publicly declared.”

Morning Ireland presenter Mary Wilson – confirmed that her salary was €196,961 as it has been publicly stated while Bryan Dobson said that he earned €209,282 and was not in receipt of any top-ups. Brendan O’Connor, meanwhile, confirmed that his pay was €245,004. Áine Lawlor confirmed her salary was in step with the most recently reported figure of €183,662 in 2020.

Attention in the hours ahead is likely to focus on the new Late Late Show presenter Patrick Kielty with question marks over how much he will be earning in his new role.


08:23

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