RTÉ fails to provide clarity on understated earnings

27 June 2023
  • Allegation that only DG knew full picture demands investigation

Labour arts, media and workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock has expressed her alarm at the statement released by RTÉ this evening.

Senator Sherlock said:

“We are none the wiser after the publication of the statement by RTÉ as to what is actually going on in the national broadcaster.

“No clarification was provided on why RTÉ’s earnings were understated and no attempt was made to address allegations that anonymised invoices were used with the third party agency in Britain.

“Most egregious of all is the allegation that only Dee Forbes knew the full picture regarding additional payments made to Ryan Tubridy. This is simply not credible.

“There are now further questions to answer regarding the seriously dysfunction legal and accounting process at play in RTÉ. It appears that for too long there has been a wild west approach to the corporate governance of a commercial semi-state body.

“The broadcaster failed to provide any insight or explanation as to why the “tri-partite agreement” between present, sponsor and RTÉ was guaranteed and underwritten by RTÉ.

“How can RTÉ explain that only Dee Forbes is in possession of all the facts when the Director General at the time and RTÉ’s solicitors were there to agree this?

“The latest information that an exit payment was made to Ryan Tubridy to terminate his existing contract early, by a few months, in order to make way for a new one will be a real kick in the teeth to all the employees who have been forced to take reductions to overall earnings, see their pay increases limited and have had resources denied to them all because of the financial situation of RTÉ.

“While exit payments may be an ordinary part of termination contacts, it is entirely at odds with the virtue signalling of the highest paid “doing their bit”.

“Ultimately, there are real questions about confidence in the existing RTÉ Executive to steer the ship around and reinstall public confident in national broadcaster.

“The repeated attempts by RTÉ to frustrate the delivery to trade unions of a report into the culture in RTÉ is a real red flag in terms of the determination by RTÉ executives to collectively force change.

“The report in poor culture within the current affairs unit in RTÉ was produced last year and it was only after the NUJ exhausted all avenues relating to freedom of information and ultimately had to go to the Information Commissioner, that the report was finally released. It contains important recommendation designed to improve workplace culture and morale but none of these have been implemented.

“It has been a devastating day for all those who work in RTÉ and who rely on the public broadcaster for news, sports and entertainment, but what has been produced this evening is an insult.

“We cannot allow RTE to inflict a crisis of confidence in itself. There are enormous questions to be answered tomorrow. The sooner all information is made public and transparent the better. Otherwise, RTÉ is facing an existential threat.

“In the interest in ensuring that our national broadcaster can thrive and bring its operations into the 21st century it will need support and it will need financial investment. That is why it is now vital that answers are provided without delay.”

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