Saturday 16 November 2019

Gender pay gap now 'damaging morale at RTÉ' as crisis deepens

Martina Fitzgerald
Martina Fitzgerald
CONVERSATION: RTE’s political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald is keen to see the evidence of pay discrepancies between male and female workers. Photo: Tony Gavin
Martina Fitzgerald

Alan O'Keeffe

High-profile staff at Montrose have held face-to-face talks with RTÉ management as the fallout over the gender pay gap at the broadcaster continues.

Morale at RTE is damaged amid the row over the pay gap between men and women at the station, sources warned.

It is understood the crisis surrounding RTÉ has deepened so far that some of the station's most senior female staff even considered leaving over the gender pay controversy.

Senior RTÉ staff were last night trying to put a lid on the controversy that has engulfed the taxpayer-funded body in recent days.

But the Irish Independent has learned that some of RTÉ's most senior stars have met their superiors to discuss their response to the pay gap.

The gender pay row first erupted after it emerged broadcaster Sharon Ni Bheolain earns up to €80,000 less than her co-anchor Bryan Dobson.

Key figures such as Ms Ní Bheoláin, Martina Fitzgerald and Emma O'Kelly have all spoken out over the pay issue as the row ignited during the past week.

A well-placed source last night stressed that the decision by Ms Ní Bheoláin to speak was in no way a reflection on her colleague. "The pair are best of friends," the source said.

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

"They will discuss the issue when Bryan is back at work next week."

Political Correspondent Martina Fitzgerald and education correspondent Emma O'Kelly were commended at a private chapel meeting in Donnybrook this week after they called for transparency on gender pay.

Ms Fitzgerald and Ms O'Kelly received a round of applause from those present. Ingrid Miley, RTÉ industry correspondent, also addressed the issue of the gender pay gap at the meeting.

RTÉ has categorically denied that there was disquiet in the station - despite claims to the contrary by a number of senior sources who spoke to the Irish Independent on the basis of confidentially.

One RTE figure, among the station's biggest stars, told the Irish Independent that the pay gap between men and women is damaging morale.

"There has been text messages and a lot of phone calls. After the BBC story, we feel we have to speak out."

Another very senior female correspondent said the station has been given a "wake up call".

"Equal pay for equal work applies in so many places, why not RTÉ."

Irish Independent

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