Friday 23 March 2018

'RTÉ bosses must publish stars' wages regularly,' says minister

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

A government minister has accused RTÉ bosses of trying to "have their cake and eat it" when it comes to the issue of taxpayers' money.

In an attack on the national broadcaster, Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O'Donovan said the "lack of transparency" surrounding pay "cannot continue".

He said RTÉ must change its approach to publishing the details of its highest earners if it is to expect the Government to engage in discussions surrounding the licence fee issue.

"You don't get a licence fee that everybody must pay without strings attached," Mr O'Donovan told the Irish Independent. "What people are paid at RTÉ is something the public want to know and are entitled to know. If you don't want to tell us, well then don't come looking to us for our money."

Mr O'Donovan said the pay of RTÉ's highest earners should always be made publicly available and he rejects the notion that doing so could lead to its stars being poached by other media outlets.

"If another outlet wants to hire an RTÉ presenter, they'll do it. I don't accept that argument at all," the Limerick TD said. "My salary is published every year. The salaries of secretary generals of departments and the CEOs of semi-State bodies are constantly published through parliamentary questions. RTÉ should be no different. You can't have your cake and eat it."

The issue of pay at RTÉ is the subject of a review being led by Kieran Mulvey, who is due to complete a report by the end of the month.

The Irish Independent understands it will point to pay gaps between staff based at Montrose and regional staff. But the review will not include the pay of the station's most high-profile broadcasters because they have negotiated contracts via their own private companies.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section