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Saturday 23 September 2017

'There can be no grey areas' - Claire Byrne calls for men and women to receive 'equal pay for equal work'

Claire Byrne at RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Claire Byrne at RTE, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Sean O'Grady

Broadcaster Claire Byrne has spoken out on the RTÉ pay gap controversy and said there can be "no grey areas" when it comes to how male and female presenters are paid.

The Laois native (42) is one of RTÉ's most well-known stars and was revealed to be one of RTÉ's top 10 highest paid stars for the first time with earnings of €201,500 in 2015.

Byrne was one of only three women appearing in the top ten along with Miriam O'Callaghan (€299,000) and Marian Finucane (€295,000).

"There can be no grey areas here as far as I am concerned – equal pay for equal work is the bottom line," she told the RTÉ Guide.

"I'm glad that RTE is the type of organisation where people feel free to speak out about it."

The TV host is looking forward to getting back to work in Montrose following the birth of her third child Emma in July.

"Life is chaotic at the moment, so for me the discipline of work is a piece of normality in a mad world. Also, I love my job and I'm itching to get back into it," she said.

Byrne is also mum to Patrick (3) and Jane (2) who are "delighted" to have another sibling in the house.

"I was surprised that they weren't jealous or confused – so far, they seem delighted to have a baby sister and they constantly ask to hold her and kiss and hug her," she said.

For the next series of Claire Byrne Live, the presenter hopes to have guests on who are not normally heard on television.

"We have to reach out to people who feel they are not represented in public life – for that for me is public service broadcasting," she said.

"I want Claire Byrne Live to be an open house where everyone can come to make their voices heard."

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