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Gay tells RTE stars to take pay criticism on the chin

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Gay Byrne

Gay Byrne

Gay Byrne

GAY BYRNE has told his 'Late Late Show' successors to take criticism over their lucrative pay packets on the chin.

Pat Kenny, whose salary was last cut three years ago to €630,000 – down 34pc from €950,976 in 2008 – is due to renegotiate his contract with RTE this year.

'Late Late' presenter Ryan Tubridy agreed to a 32pc cut last year and is now receiving €495,000 per annum.

However, Byrne has said they are paid high salaries by RTE as public criticism comes with their job and profiles.

"When they criticise the amount of money that Ryan Tubridy is paid, that is part of what he is paid for," said Byrne, who is now chairman of the Road Safety Authority.

"If you can't stand that level of criticism and being carped at and being torn asunder, then obviously you have to get out of the business," he said.

Flak

"As long as you are as high profile as that and on a salary like that, the assumption is you better be able to take this kind of barracking." Byrne told the Irish Independent that a thick skin was needed to be in Tubridy's position. "If you are not able for that criticism, then you shouldn't be in that business."

He said Tubridy and Kenny were well able to handle any flak they got over their salaries.

"Ryan has had a hard time, but Pat has had a hard time as well. We have all had a hard time as well. I am so long out of the place I don't have to put up with it anymore but if you are going to be successful, you are going to have to take it.

"I think that (is for) anybody who sticks their head above the parapet and takes on any job in public life, whether it is television, radio, politics or sport.

"Think of what GAA and rugby stars have to put up with if they make a mistake on the field.

"Most ordinary people would consider the loss of privacy to be a serious thing in their lives. But if you strive to be a star in television, radio, theatre, politics or sport and to be well known and successful, therefore your privacy is gone. It is just that on television and radio, you are a bit better paid than the others (politicians, actors, Irish sports stars)," Byrne said.

RTE director general Noel Curran said the broadcaster hoped to achieve salary cuts by up to 40pc from the boom period for RTE presenters who are in contract talks this year.

Irish Independent