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Wednesday 17 September 2014

RTE's Miriam 'happy to take 30pc cut in pay'

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Published 17/06/2011 | 05:00

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Miriam O'Callaghan: at the launch of Amnesty Ireland's right to health campaign yesterday

MIRIAM O'CALLAGHAN yesterday signalled she is willing to take a pay cut, in a move which will increase pressure on other RTE presenters to follow suit.

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She is the first major RTE star to speak publicly after the station's new director general, Noel Curran, revealed he plans to reduce top presenters' pay by 30pc from their levels in 2008.

'Prime Time' presenter O'Callaghan told the Irish Independent: "I have always said in the past, and I will say again, they will not find me wanting. If Noel Curran says I have to, there is no problem.

"I'm happy to go along with whatever he wants me to do," O'Callaghan said, after she addressed Amnesty International Ireland's 'Right To Health' campaign launch at the Royal College of Physicians in Kildare Street, Dublin, yesterday.

The mother of eight, who received €302,000 in 2008, said she fully accepted Mr Curran's statement, which would see hers, and other top RTE talents', pay slashed.

The 30pc cut would mean her pay would be reduced by €90,000 -- including any voluntary cut already taken.

RTE has said an undertaking was given in 2009 to cut the fees paid to its top 10 presenters as their contracts come up for renewal, and that process would be completed by 2013.

"RTE intends that by the time all the existing contracts have been revisited, by end 2013, the payments total will have reduced by in excess of 30pc relative to the 2008 levels," Mr Curran said last week.

It comes after RTE stars took a voluntary 10pc cut in 2009. In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, then 'Late Late Show' host Pat Kenny was the highest-paid presenter in RTE at €951,000.

The Amnesty campaign launched is aimed at securing a government commitment to give each individual a legal guarantee of essential healthcare.

Amnesty director Colm O'Gorman said: "Everyone in Ireland has a right to health. This Government has the chance to deliver this right.

Illness

"People living in consistent poverty are twice as likely to have a chronic illness."

Meanwhile, Ms O'Callaghan went on to describe as "daft" a headline wrongly attributed to her on an RTE website which had her claiming mothers would be better off staying at home with their children.

"That was hilariously funny and daft. Why? Because how could I as a working mother insist mothers stay home? I never said that," she said.

The 50-year-old rang TV3 magazine show 'Midday' live to set the record straight and was interviewed by host Colette Fitzpatrick.

"At first TV3 didn't really believe it was me on the phone but when they realised I got straight on air. It was an important point to clear up," she said.

Irish Independent

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