Thursday 15 November 2018

Behind the news: RTE spends €425k on wardrobe for stars

National broadcaster also forks out more than €2m transporting its staff at home and abroad

RTÉ’s flagship news shows, including ‘Six One News’, presented by Sharon Ní Bheoláin, ran up hefty bills for their wardrobes
RTÉ’s flagship news shows, including ‘Six One News’, presented by Sharon Ní Bheoláin, ran up hefty bills for their wardrobes

Sharon McGowan and Emma Jane Hade

RTÉ forked out over €2m on driving and jetting its employees around both Ireland and abroad last year.

The national broadcaster confirmed it faced a travel bill of €2,004,000 in 2014 - a rise of almost 10pc on the previous year.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal RTÉ splashed out more than €1.8m in travel expenses in 2013, meaning it spent an extra €165,000 on transportation for its staff last year.

The organisation recorded a spend of €388,000 on taxi fares within Dublin alone in 2014, a jump of €50,000 compared to the previous year.


The largest increase in RTÉ's travel spend was in a section noted as "other expenses" - including road mileage, bus fares and ferry costs - which leapt from €950,000 in 2013 to €1,064,000 in 2014.

The broadcaster spent €483,000 on air fares last year, down €1,000 from 2013.

Responding to the figures last night, RTÉ said the increase was down to a number of high profile "events of national importance" that took place overseas - despite the cost of air travel decreasing last year. "During 2014 RTÉ personnel had to travel to cover key events of national importance including the World Cup, the state visit of the President to the UK and European soccer qualifiers," a statement from the national broadcaster read.

"Providing live coverage of these, and other events, necessitated additional travel, both at home and abroad, and this is reflected in the increased travel expenditure."

When asked to explain the increase in Dublin taxi costs and the "other travel expenses" category, RTÉ declined to comment.

Last year, the broadcaster also racked up a bill of €36,000 on rail fares while it also estimated a spend of €34,000 on taxis outside of Dublin.

The broadcaster said it has been proven to be "efficiently run".

"In overall terms RTÉ has reduced its operating cost by almost €130M since 2008. During this period RTÉ has also been subject to extensive independent review; including a review by New Era which found RTÉ to be efficiently run," RTÉ said.

But it's not just for travel that RTÉ has been handing out the big bucks - it also splashed out more than €425,000 on getting its television stars suited and booted last year.

It spent €207,687 on clothes, shoes and accessories to keep its onscreen talent looking polished in 2014.


RTÉ's entertainment shows racked up bills of €60,212 in an effort to look their glamorous best. The news and current affairs department was a close second with a bill of €51,127.

The station's flagship soap 'Fair City', which has roughly 22 stars going through the wardrobe department on a daily basis, clocked up a price tag of almost €58,000.

'The Late Late Show', hosted by Ryan Tubridy (left), spent €20,689 on outfits for on-screen talent. This is double the amount they spent in the year prior, a total of €9,519.

RTÉ One's flagship news programmes - the 'One O'Clock News', 'Six One News' and 'Nine News' - also had a hefty price tag with the taxpayer footing a wardrobe bill of just over €28,000 for clothes and shoes for the country's most popular newsreaders.

Brendan O'Connor's 'The Saturday Night Show' had a bill of €7,582 for shows broadcast in 2014, more than double the amount they spent in 2013.

Irish Independent

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