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Dressed to impress -- RTE spends €150,000 on clothes for stars

CASH-strapped RTE ran up clothing bills of €150,000 for just 10 shows last year.

The broadcaster could raise some much-needed funds if it had a jumble sale with some of Ryan Tubridy's jumpers, Grainne Seoige's dresses and Pat Kenny's suits, according to figures seen by the Herald.

Amazingly it cost more to keep Brendan O'Connor in suits for The Saturday Night Show than it did for Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that The Saturday Night show spent €12,668 on clothes in 2010. And despite the fact that The Late Late Show host Tubridy has a salary well over €500,000, he was given an extensive clothing allowance.

The Late Late Show spent €10,985 on clothes last year, which is understood to include outfits for the presenter as well as his house band. In the first five months of this year they splashed another €3,000 to ensure the cast was up-to-date with the latest fashions.

Among the most well-dressed stars are RTE's team of news presenters are the elegant Anne Doyle, dapper Bryan Dobson and glamorous Sharon Ni Bheolain. In 2010 the team of presenters and reporters received allowances of €39,100.

And by the end of May 2011 another €21,000 was allocated to the newsroom, bringing the total spend in the 17-month period to over €60,000.

This compares to the €10,700 clothing budget for fashion show Off The Rails last year. The programme, which is presented by Brendan Courtney and Sonya Lennon, has continued to makeover guests and the hosts with an additional €6,776.

The figures also suggest that Winning Streak is almost as generous with the clothing allowance for presenters Marty Whelan and Kathryn Thomas as it is with its competitors.

Marty's suits and Kathryn's dresses cost €12,057 last year. A further €699 was allocated for the spring run of the series, which is now off air for a summer break. Chatshow queen and Prime Time aggressor Miriam O'Callaghan has also had a little help from the RTE wardrobe.

The clothing budget for her summer series Saturday Night With Miriam was €6,215.

Although the show didn't return to our screens until June 11 this year, it appears that Miriam got some early shopping in with part of a €3,356 budget.


But while the glamorous mum of eight is always turned out in Dublin's finest for her chat show, her serious Prime Time outfits have a more modest budget.

Ms O'Callaghan and her co-hosts spent €4,500 on clothes in 2010 and €700 so far in 2011.

Pat Kenny's suit bill for The Frontline stood at €1,300, while The Sunday Game team have kept their expenditure to €664.

This is a far cry from the €3,587 that Michael Lyster and his crew of panellists forked out just two years ago.

The Herald also asked RTE to supply details of the costs associated with afternoon shows Four Live and the Daily Show. However, the figures were refused on the ground that the shows are "commissioned from the independent sector and the budgets of commissioned programmes are regarded as commercially sensitive".