Bakhurst must set record straight on exit packages

16 February 2024
  • Lack of transparency is corroding confidence in new management team.
  • Labour calls for publication of Coveney and Collins resignation letters.
  • Minister has serious questions to answer about her laissez faire role regarding the public broadcaster.

Senator Marie Sherlock said RTÉ’s Director General must set the record straight on exit packages for all staff that were granted by RTÉ over the past five years.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Many of us are reeling at the news that the business case for the exit of former CFO Breda O’ Keeffe was not even committed to paper at a time where RTÉ management were engaged in fine tooth comb negotatiations about pay, travel and subsistence with staff in the organisation.

“However what is much more serious is that as recent as last summer at the height of the scandal, exit packages were negotiated for former directors Coveney and Collins who were told had resigned their roles.

“This utterly flies in the face of the image that things are being differently under the new DG.

“Labour are demanding that their resignations letters be published in full in the interest of transparency and restoring public trust.

“It is simply not acceptable that senior directors and mangers in the organisation were rewarded for failure.

“All this is happening at a time where RTÉ continues to deny employment status and associated rights to hundreds of workers who have been determined as bogusly self employed.

“Rory Coveney’s failed venture with the RTÉ Toy Show Musical cost the organisation the tune of €2.2m.

“We also believe answers must be provided by the DG as to whether an exit package was negotiated for a senior manager alleged to have engaged in bullying behaviour in RTÉ.

“Ultimately, Director General Kevin Bakhurst needs to provide a full record of what packages were negotiated and the associated cost.

“Unlike any private organisation that might negotiate packages to push people out of the organisation, public money is at stake here.

“The need for bailouts for RTÉ predates the crisis that broke out last summer and the sharp drop in TV licence revenues is deeply concerning. This is all happening in the context of massive bailouts paid to the broadcaster in recent years

“Finally, I am seriously concerned about the Media Minister’s hands off approach to this crisis.

“How questions were not asked following the resignation of two senior executives involved in the ongoing financial scandal at RTÉ reflects a serious failure of responsibility by her.

“Her first responsibility is to the public purse and to ensure she was made aware of how it was being spent, particularly when RTÉ has had a record of seeking bailouts predating the crisis and now faces a much more serious funding situation.”

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