RTÉ shells out over €500,000 on guests' fees
RTÉ splashed out more than €500,000 on guests who appeared on some of its most popular television shows, as well as €120,000 on hospitality for audiences.
Figures released by the state broadcaster show that Montrose bosses spent €512,444 on guest fees, their transport and accommodation costs, as well as 'green-room' hospitality for six of their most watched television programmes in 2014.
The flagship 'The Late Late Show' ran up the highest guest fees bill, with €124,979 spent across the 37 episodes.
Some of its more memorable guests who appeared last year included actor Michael Fassbender, director Lenny Abrahamson, TV presenter Graham Norton and actress and businesswoman Eva Longoria.
Transport and accommodation fees for the world's longest-running chat show stood at a total of €84,677, while an additional €15,101 was spent on 'green-room' hospitality.
'The Saturday Night Show', incurred the second-largest bill as the broadcaster shelled out just over €92,025 on guests' fees for the show.
An additional €58,025 was spent on transport and accommodation for guests who appeared on the show's 32 episodes broadcast last year.
Food and beverages for Brendan O'Connor's subjects and contributors ran up a bill of almost €10,000.
Dáithí Ó Sé and Maura Derrane's daily show 'Today', which is broadcast from Cork, spent a total of €65,513 on guests for their appearance fees, transport, accommodation and refreshments.
Miriam O'Callaghan's popular summer chat show, 'Saturday Night with Miriam', had a bill of €33,168 for guests and their needs over its eight episodes.
Current-affairs juggernaut 'Prime Time' spent just over €10,000 on guest fees, as well as €7,474 on transport and accommodation costs.
Elsewhere, the broadcaster spent almost €120,000 on audience hospitality for five of its top shows. This usually includes wine, soft drinks and some food.
RTÉ said it pays for guests, except for politicians and those who are promoting their work.
However, its figures are not broken down to reveal who is paid how much. RTÉ said these costs were "industry standard" and claimed that it had cut operating costs by almost €130m in recent years.