Thursday 19 April 2018

RTÉ will reveal 2015 'star' pay by end of this year

Ray D'Arcy. Photo: Andres Poveda
Ray D'Arcy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Sean O'Grady

RTÉ has said it will publish the pay of its biggest stars for 2015 by the end of this year.

The national broadcaster's director general, Dee Forbes, recently called for a hike in the licence fee - but the issue of presenters' salaries is back in the spotlight after the BBC revealed its top earners.

RTE has never released the salary of Ray D'Arcy, which is rumoured to be in the region of €500,000.

However, Mr D'Arcy previously denied that his earnings were as high as was reported and said he is earning less than he was in the commercial sector.

This week has seen a widespread backlash over the gender gap between the BBC's top earners.

The UK's national broadcaster came under sharp criticism after releasing its talent list of presenters who earn more than £150,000 (€169,500) a year.

Dee Forbes Director General of RTÉ. Photo: David Conachy
Dee Forbes Director General of RTÉ. Photo: David Conachy

The figures showed former 'Top Gear' host Chris Evans is the station's top earner, with a salary of £2.2m (€2.5m) while its highest paid female host Claudia Winkleman earns between £450,000-£499,000 (€508,00-€564,000).

While Winkleman and 'One Show' host Alex Jones were the only females in the BBC's top 10 earners, RTÉ pointed out it also had two women in its highest earners for 2014.

"Salaries and earnings at RTÉ are not based on gender. The latest available figures, for 2014 which RTÉ published in 2016, feature two female presenters in the top 10 earners, Miriam O'Callaghan and Marian Finucane. Claire Byrne, who was in the top 10 in 2012, returned to RTÉ in late 2014, following maternity leave," it said.

RTÉ will announce figures for its top 10 earners in 2015 later this year, a spokesperson told the Irish Independent.

The figures for 2015 are likely to reveal the earnings of Ray D'Arcy, who re-joined the station at the end of 2014 and whose chat show debuted the following September.

Following the BBC's pledge to have its presenting roles equally divided among men and women by 2020, RTÉ said diversity will be a "factor" in its decision making.

"Salaries and earnings at RTÉ are not based on gender.

"However, diversity within the organisation is being considered as part of RTÉ's five-year strategy," the broadcaster said. It comes after director general Dee Forbes called for an increase in the TV licence fee from €160 to €175.

Speaking in front of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ms Forbes said the fee accounts for over 50pc of the station's funding and said the current fee, which equates to 44c a day, is good value for money.

Ireland has one of the highest licence fee evasion rates in Europe and Ms Forbes said it is a shame the State broadcaster does not have sufficient funding to compete with other countries with higher licence fees. Former TV3 host Aisling O'Loughlin believes the gender gap comes down to how much male and female employees work is valued.

"There is still a long way to go. Money equals value whether we like it or not. What value are you putting on a person's work? It's disappointing," she said.

"I wasn't surprised. You just go, what's going on? How can this be?

"Especially in an institution as politically correct as the BBC.

"It's a very strong indication of what's going on."

Irish Independent

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