Wednesday 22 January 2020

RTÉ's pay gap for women is abhorrent says star Tubridy

Ryan Tubridy, Vogue Williams, Baz Ashmawy, Mairead Ronan, Amy Huberman and Ray Darcy at the RTÉ launch. Photo: Colin Keegan
Ryan Tubridy, Vogue Williams, Baz Ashmawy, Mairead Ronan, Amy Huberman and Ray Darcy at the RTÉ launch. Photo: Colin Keegan
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

RTÉ's top earner Ryan Tubridy, who takes home an annual salary of €495,000, has described the broadcaster's gender pay gap as abhorrent.

Of RTÉ's top 10 earners, only three are female - Claire Byrne, Marian Finucane, and 'Prime Time' host Miriam O'Callaghan.

"I've got two daughters, two sisters and a mother I love," Tubridy said, speaking at the national broadcaster's autumn launch.

"And the idea of inequality of any sort - pay, respect, any of it - to me is abhorrent.

"Any gap needs to be closed - it's as simple as that," he said.

Questions about gender pay disparity arose last month when it emerged that Sharon Ní Bheoláin makes €80,000 less than her co-anchor Bryan Dobson.

Following the controversy, RTÉ announced it was conducting a review, carried out by former Workplace Relations Commission chief Kieran Mulvey, to determine the scale of the gender pay gap.

"There's a review happening in RTÉ, it's correct that it is happening and the report that comes from it has to be actioned, with anything broken needing to be fixed," Tubridy said.

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Asked whether he would be willing to review his own salary, he said pay was a question for management.

"I say that because they're the ones who decide what somebody is and is not worth, not me," he said. "But I'm under no illusion as to my good fortune."

Asked whether he felt uneasy discussing his wage, he said: "People are entitled to know and it's perfectly legitimate and fair [that my salary is published]."

Other top-earning male presenters attending the launch, such as Ray D'Arcy and Nicky Byrne (above inset), were not available for interview.

Radio host Jennifer Zamparelli spoke about the need for more female voices on air.

"When you listen to stations in the morning, you just hear blokes, blokes, blokes. It is nice to hear a female voice," she said.

"I want my daughter to not think of a gender imbalance so it's important to have women on air."

Zamparelli, who comes from a business background, said she was sure to negotiate a fair salary when she started presenting 'Breakfast Republic' with Bernard O'Shea and Keith Walsh. I am a business person first and foremost ... going in [to 'Breakfast Republic'] we all sat down and pay came up and we said this is what we are going in at."

As one of the three female broadcasters to make it on to the top earning list, Claire Byrne recognised she was in a "privileged position" to be on that list.

"I'd like to see more women on there," said Byrne, who makes €201,500 a year.

"I think gender pay is probably an issue not just in RTÉ, but because we're a media organisation it's good we're leading the conversation.

"I think it's good that people who work here, in particular women, feel free to speak out about it in a public way."

Byrne brushed off suggestions she would replace Bryan Dobson on the 'Six One' news.

"I think everyone's name has been in the mix at this stage," she said.

Next week, RTÉ will unveil its restructuring scheme and 250 redundancies.

When asked whether looming job cuts had hampered the launch, channel controller Adrian Lynch said: "We are still making great content and today is brilliant because we are acknowledging the brilliant talent both behind and in front of the camera."

Irish Independent

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