“That was unfortunate.”
Among the many, many eyebrow-raising comments and clashes during the voluntary appearance of Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly, his agent, at the Public Accounts Committee hearing on Tuesday (July 11), an interaction with a Fianna Fáil TD was right up there.
The PAC hearing heard about Nigerian cousins, selling chocolate, Rock Gods, stacks of supportive letters to ‘Ryan Tubridy in Dublin’ and Tom Cruise, during the course of a three-hour hearing at the Oireachtas, in Dublin. The hearings have been ongoing ever since news first broke of a Grant Thornton review into payment irregularities at RTÉ.
Tubridy, who has not been on the air for his RTÉ radio show since the news broke, and Kelly asked if they could make statements to the PAC and Media Committees. One of the complaints both men had was that RTÉ rushed into making a statement on the payment reviews without properly consulting them. At one stage, Kelly asked why Tubridy, one of Ireland’s most trusted individuals, he said, was ‘thrown under the bus’.
Having claimed they did not have enough notice, the pair then had to hold up their hands for only getting a 39-page document sent to the PAC members at only 8:29am. Committee chair Brian Stanley [Sinn Féin] was the first, but not the last, to scold them over this.
Later in the hearing, Deputy Alan Kelly [Labour] said it was a ‘major insult’ to all the members to receive the documents from representatives of Tubridy and Kelly a day later than the deadline [Monday]. Up next was Deputy O’Connor [Fianna Fáil] and he tore into the duo for the late arrival of documents.Ryan Tubridy and Deputy James O’Connor clash at the PAC hearing. (Credit: Oireachtas TV)
James O’Connor clashes with Ryan Tubridy
Noting that the PAC members only got the large, 39-page document from Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly’s representatives just two hours before the hearing, Deputy James O’Connor asked the pair if they accepted ‘how it’s not physically possible for anyone here to comprehensively go through that sort of information’.
“That was unfortunate,” Tubridy replied, “and I have to say that I do apologise to every single member of the committee for that.”
“I has been a tortuous few weeks,” he continued before O’Connor tried to interrupt. “Please, please,” insisted Tubridy, “let me just finish my sentence! What’s gone missing in the last few weeks, forgive me, is there has been a humanity bypass a bit here, okay. So, just bear with us.
“We have worked tirelessly to put this document together. We got it in when we could, and I apologise.”
Deputy O’Connor accepted that apology and acknowledged ‘from a human perspective, this is difficult’. “We’re politicians,” he said, “we know what it is like to be dragged through the river.”
Follow all the Oireachtas committee hearings – featuring Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly’s appearance – in our live news feed.
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