Saturday 20 April 2019

RTE's Sharon Ni Bheolain gets equal-pay promise - but wants to quit 'Six One'

Sharon Ni Bheolain
Sharon Ni Bheolain
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Two months after the gender pay gap controversy erupted at RTE, station bosses are still in a deep quandary over the revamp of TV news.

The Sunday Independent revealed eight weeks ago  that Bryan Dobson is moving to Morning Ireland, but uncertainty still hangs over the RTE newsroom.

Mr Dobson will make the move to Morning Ireland on October 30.

It is still not known who will take his place.

Claire Byrne, Ray Kennedy and David McCullagh have all now been ruled out of the running, the Sunday Independent understands.

It is believed newscaster Sharon Ni Bheolain has been asked to stay on and has received concrete  assurances on equal pay and status.

But the Sunday Independent has learned she is anxious for a change — though still wants to stay  with the national broadcaster.

Both newscasters in the new line-up will now share the bulletin and there will be no lead anchor.

The news comes after the Sunday Independent revealed the pay gap between Mr Dobson and his female co-anchor controversially stood at up to €80,000 a year.

But questions still remain over the future of Ms Ni Bheolain in the newscasting role on the Six One News.

The newscaster has made it known she would like to move on.

This weekend a source told the newspaper: “It’s well known in the newsroom that Sharon has been asking for a change for the last few years.

“For a long time she has been asking management to release her from Six One  newsreader duties. She has made it known she wants to step away from the cameras after 23 years in the spotlight.

“She would prefer to remain behind the camera for a while, to concentrate on features and documentaries.

“She has been in the same position for over two decades, so naturally she is longing for change.”

As far back as 2013, Sharon gave an interview to the RTE Guide in which the presenter said that, while she enjoyed working in TV news, she was “ready for something new”.

Asked if she would be presenting the Six One for life, she was candid in her desire for change: “It’s been a very enjoyable experience, but I’m looking for something new.”

Meanwhile, the Sunday Independent has also learned that so far no suitable candidate from RTE’s news and current affairs department has  agreed to take on Mr Dobson’s (pictured left) vacant presenting position. 

Mr Dobson is among RTE’s top 10 earners, with an annual salary of €195,816 in 2014.

Other high earners in RTE include Ryan Tubridy, Joe Duffy and Derek Mooney.

Sunday Independent

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