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04th Jul 2023

Government to commission two independent reviews of RTÉ in wake of payments scandal

Stephen Porzio

payments scandal

Once work on the reviews begin, they are expected to be completed in six months.

Minister for Media Catherine Martin has announced that she will be commissioning an “independent, root and branch examination” of RTÉ in the wake of the Ryan Tubridy payments scandal.

It comes after the RTÉ Board last month revealed that the former Late Late host’s annual earnings between 2017 and 2022 had been understated by the broadcaster. The board said that Tubridy was paid over €300,000 more during this time than initially declared.

Stating that RTÉ has “lost the trust of the people and of its own staff” due to the controversy, Martin made the announcement regarding the examination of the broadcaster on Tuesday (4 July) after a Government meeting. She said the examination will be composed of two “separate and parallel reviews”.

payments scandal

Catherine Martin speaking today: Image via Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

The first review will probe and make recommendations on the measures necessary to build stronger governance structures and to reform the organisational culture in RTÉ.

Meanwhile, the second review will analyse how external RTÉ contractors are engaged, the fees paid and a number of important HR matters.

Martin said that this latter review will have a particular focus on “gender equality, diversity and inclusion and including issues that have been raised with me by RTÉ staff representative bodies”.

The reviews will each be directed by two different three-person Expert Advisory Committees. These will oversee the work of a professional services firm that will be appointed to work on the assessments.

According to the Media Minister, the committees will work in parallel and coordinate where applicable and will be supported by a team from her department.

In her statement regarding the announcement, Martin said:

“Ever since the first broadcast of its predecessor Raidió Éireann, RTÉ has provided a public space for the people of Ireland to speak to and of one another. At its best, it has held up a mirror to Irish society, one that has demonstrated not only the best in our society but one that also revealed its injustices, both glaring and sometimes all too hidden. In doing so, RTÉ has been sustained not only by the tireless work of its staff over the years but also through the trust of the people.

“That trust has been shattered. The independent, root and branch examination of RTÉ I am announcing today is the beginning of our efforts to restore that trust.”

Meanwhile, to further underpin the work of the committees, the Minister will invoke her powers under the Broadcasting Act 2009 to appoint a forensic accountant to examine the records of accounts of RTÉ. This accountant will initially direct their focus on the broadcaster’s much-publicised barter account and any other off-balance sheet accounts.

It is expected that the examination will take six months from the commencement of work. Once completed, it will inform the development of an implementation plan which will address the recommendations proposed.

Main image via Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

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