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Thursday 22 March 2018

Low-profile RTE job for star but still at top salary

Ken Sweeney

FORMER Fine Gael TD George Lee will make documentaries on his return to RTE.

But there is likely to be some disquiet at the station that Mr Lee will still be paid the same salary on his return despite a dramatically-reduced profile.

Earlier this week, RTE confirmed that Lee would be able to return to work with RTE on the same basic grade and salary he received previously. That salary is believed to be in excess of €100,000.

He is expected to return in early May, but has already admitted that a return to his previous position is an impossibility given his short-lived political career.

Sources at the station last night revealed the former economics editor's immediate future with the station is set to be in the documentary department following his shock decision to quit politics this week.

The station's former economics editor has previously made three successful documentaries for RTE.

"There needs to be a de-contamination period for George after his time in Leinster House," an RTE insider said.

"Given his old job is now being filled by someone else and the kind of allegations of bias that could be now levelled against him, documentaries would seem to be the perfect area for him to work in. He also has a strong track record in this area."

In 2006, Mr Lee presented 'Boom' which predicted the demise of the Celtic Tiger, and he fronted 'How We Blew The Boom' last year. 'Beyond the Berlin Wall', meanwhile, marked the 20th anniversary of that momentous event.

Sources said Mr Lee was unlikely to apply to take up positions in Washington or Brussels because of the dislocation it would cause his family. He would face tough competition for either slot, in any case.

A UCD graduate with an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, Mr Lee won a Journalist of the Year award in 1998 for uncovering a major tax evasion and over-charging scandal in the National Irish Bank.

Before joining RTE, he previously worked as a senior economist at Riada Stockbrokers and as an economist with the Central Bank.

He was RTE's economics editor until his victory in the Dublin South by-election in June last year.

Irish Independent

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