Wednesday 25 April 2018

Firms run by RTÉ's top earners sitting on substantial cash piles

Ryan Tubridy
Ryan Tubridy
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Seven of RTÉ's top 10 earning presenters use companies to contract out their services to the national broadcaster.

There are a number of potential benefits to doing this, which regular RTÉ employees do not enjoy, such as greater control over tax and pension arrangements.

Accounts show some presenters are sitting on large cash piles, while others have chosen to take out the bulk of what RTÉ pays their companies.

Top earner Ryan Tubridy's Tuttle Productions Ltd is the company RTÉ paid €495,000 for the 'Late Late Show' presenter's services in 2015.

The 44-year-old and his mother Catherine are the company's directors.

There is no breakdown of what he personally took out of the company as a salary.

Overall director remuneration topped €1m in a 28-month period, according to the two most recent sets of accounts filed by the firm. Directors' emoluments amounted to €473,328 for the 16 months up to December 2016, and €590,345 for the 12 months up to August 2015.

Pension costs were €12,212 in 2016 and €8,372 in 2015.

A company run by RTÉ's second highest earning presenter, Ray D'Arcy (52), was paid €400,000 for his services in 2015. Accounts for Whatnext Productions Ltd show its only employee was paid €245,294 by the firm the same year.

Pension contributions totalling €30,000 were also made.

The accounts showed the company had a cash pile of €125,266 at the end of 2015.

RTÉ paid a company called Cladaghgreen Ltd €389,988 in 2015 for the services of 'Liveline' presenter Joe Duffy (61).

Accounts for the year up to April 2016 showed it was sitting on a cash pile of €458,456.

'Prime Time' presenter Miriam O'Callaghan's firm Baby Blue Productions Ltd was paid €299,000 for her services in 2015. Accounts for the year up to December 2016 show the company's two directors at the time, Ms O'Callaghan (57) and her daughter Alannah McGurk, were paid a total of €209,545. Ms McGurk is no longer a director of the firm.

Radio presenter Marian Finucane (67) had her services retained via a company called Montrose Services Ltd, which was paid €295,000 by RTÉ in 2015.

Accounts for the year up to October 2016 showed it was sitting on a cash pile of €531,686. The company employed four people that year, with total remuneration amounting to €120,758, of which €20,293 was paid to its directors, Ms Finucane's husband John Clarke and their son Jack.

Claire Byrne's company Derrough Media Ltd was paid €201,500 for her services in 2015. Ms Byrne (41) and her husband Gerry Scollan are the directors of the company.

Accounts for the 12 months up to October 2015 showed directors' remuneration amounted to €151,762.

Former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne's company Studz Entertainments Ltd was paid €200,583 for his services in 2015. Accounts show the company had a €138,043 cash pile in October 2015.

Mr Byrne (38) and his wife Georgina are the company's directors. Remuneration for directors amounted to €126,975.

Irish Independent

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