Top earner Kenny digs heels in over six-figure salary cut
Published 26/10/2011 | 05:00
RTE presenter Pat Kenny is refusing to concede a six-figure salary cut ahead of tough pay talks at the state broadcaster.
The 'Frontline' presenter, who hosted Monday night's presidential debate, broke ranks with other top RTE earners who have indicated they are willing to take pay cuts.
RTE director general Noel Curran last week threw down the gauntlet to the station's big-salary names by telling them to take a 30pc pay cut or look elsewhere for work.
But Kenny, who was paid the top salary of €950,976 in 2008, told the Irish Independent that the first rule of negotiations is not to give anything away before they begin. He insisted he would save any decision until meetings with RTE management took place.
"No negotiator should ever go in saying: 'I am actually going to give you a ceasefire before we talk'. Let's wait for the negotiation," he said.
But Kenny's stance is in stark contrast with others who earn six-figure sums at RTE.
Ryan Tubridy, Joe Duffy and Miriam O'Callaghan have already indicated they are willing to take a cut.
And last night O'Callaghan again stressed she was "happy to take whatever cut the director general wants".
"I believe it is fair," she added.
Kenny did not say he would definitely rule out a pay cut. But when pressed he said: "Let's wait for the negotiations."
He added: "Noel Curran has set his targets for 2013 and I'm sure they will be reached. Whenever the next negotiations come up, I will be there."
Asked if he would consider a move to TV3 or another commercial broadcaster, Kenny said he had "no comment" to make.
A cut of 30pc in Kenny's 2008 salary would mean a reduction from €950,976 to €665,683.
But the 2008 figure -- the most recent available -- includes his pay from 'The Late Late Show' which he left in May 2009, to be replaced by Tubridy.
And in 2009 Kenny indicated his willingness to accept a 10pc pay cut by issuing a statement in which he said: "Everyone has a responsibility to accept the financial challenges facing the State...
"I am pleased to play my part. I have a privileged position within RTE and I am fortunate to have been presented with this choice."
However these comments came after the Dalkey man concluded a new radio and television contract with RTE.
Mr Curran has promised to cut the salaries of the top earners at the station by 30pc by 2013.
RTE is facing a possible €30m deficit for 2011, but Mr Curran has insisted it is on target to cut the projected deficit to €17m, hoping to break even in 2013.
Under his plan, Marian Finucane's €570,000 pay cheque in 2008 would fall to €399,000, while Duffy's €408,889 salary would be reduced to €286,000.
Tubridy is believed to make significantly more than the €533,333 he earned in 2008, given he now presents 'The Late Late Show'.
He said last week: "I realise everything has changed and I certainly won't be fighting a cutback of any sort. I know what is required and how the salary climate has changed."
Also among RTE's highest-paid presenters in 2008 were Eamon Dunphy, who earned €328,051; Miriam O'Callaghan, who earned €301,667; Derek Mooney, who earned €286,809; George Hamilton, who earned €219,833 and Sean O'Rourke, who earned €218,656.