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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Gender pay gap issue is not just about RTÉ salaries, says minister

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Equality minister Charlie Flanagan has said the problem of gender pay gaps in Ireland is "much bigger than RTÉ" and he wants to see progress on the issue across society.

He said the overall difference in pay between men and women was still in the order of 14pc in favour of male employees, adding: "It's too high. I want that narrowed."

Mr Flanagan was speaking as he launched a public consultation process to help the Government tackle the pay gap.

Employers, trade unions, educational institutions and members of the public will have six weeks in which to make submissions on what can be done to improve the situation.

The issue blew up in the wake of the BBC publishing a lengthy list of its highest earners in recent weeks, which was dominated by male presenters.

Questions over gender pay equality at RTÉ were raised after it had emerged that newscaster Sharon Ní Bheoláin earned tens of thousands of euro less than her 'Six One' co-anchor Bryan Dobson.

And when RTÉ subsequently revealed the pay details for its top 10 highest-earning stars in 2015, there were just three women among their ranks - Miriam O'Callaghan, Marian Finucane and Claire Byrne.

'Late Late Show' presenter Ryan Tubridy topped the list on €495,000.

Former head of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey is currently conducting an independent review of gender equality at RTÉ.

Mr Flanagan said there had been progress in tackling the gender pay gap in Ireland in recent years but he is concerned that it remains too large.

He noted that the issue had been "a matter of public controversy in recent times" and said he would hold a conference for stakeholders on gender pay balance in the autumn.

Consultation

Mr Flanagan was asked about concern over gender pay gaps at RTÉ. He replied: "While RTÉ is an issue, I don't believe it's the entire issue.

"I believe this is much bigger than RTÉ or any single entity be they public or private and I want to see progress made right across society. This is a most important equality issue that I want to see dealt with."

Mr Flanagan said he was anxious to hear the public's views, adding: "I invite RTÉ and all other stakeholders to participate in what can be an exciting endeavour as we move towards the equality agenda and narrowing the gap that I've said is far too broad."

Irish Independent

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