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RTE bosses in dark over Lee's return

FORMER Fine Gael TD George Lee has not yet approached RTE to state his intentions on returning to Montrose, according to television bosses.

Station chiefs say they are still in the dark about whether Mr Lee intends to return to RTE -- since the former economics editor's shock resignation from the Dail and Fine Gael last week.

There have been no meetings between Mr Lee and RTE management, according to a spokesperson, and no meetings have been scheduled between the two parties to discuss his career plans for the future.

RTE received a letter from Mr Lee after his shock resignation stating that he would like to come back to work, but there has been no other contact between himself and RTE since.

"There's been no other contact," a source told the Herald.

However, she added: "Because he took a Leave of Absence, he's entitled to return."

Mr Lee's unpaid leave of absence is due to end at the beginning of May, and even though when he left Mr Lee said returning to RTE was unlikely, he has now signalled he wants to do so.

The RTE spokesperson said she would not comment on whether there will be a post available for him due to editorial policy.

But it has already been confirmed that the former economics editor will be able to return to work with RTÉ on the same basic grade and salary he held previously.

His old job has been filled and there aren't many onscreen slots that a journalist in his position could fill -- with the exception of the upcoming vacancy in Washington.

A source told the Herald that it is too early for negotiations to take place between Mr Lee and RTE bosses.

Mr Lee's RTE pension was "frozen" when he was elected to the Dail, and he received no further contributions made by RTE.

But he hasn't ruled out making another big career move and even joked about the idea that he would fill the role of Washington correspondent when he returned to the station for a Six-One News interview last week.

RTÉ is currently looking to replace its current correspondent in Washington Charlie Bird.