Dáil hears call for ‘obnoxious inequality’ within RTÉ to end

Dáil Hears Call For ‘Obnoxious Inequality’ Within Rté To End
People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Richard Boyd Barrett urged the Government to oversee a ‘massive cultural shift’ at the national broadcaster. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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By David Young, PA

The “obnoxious inequality“ that sees leading broadcasters paid vastly more than other workers at RTÉ must end, the Dáil has been told.

People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Richard Boyd Barrett urged Government to ensure a “massive cultural shift” takes place within the national broadcaster.


Responding on behalf of the Government during Leaders’ Questions, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said there had been a “shocking failure of governance” at senior levels in RTÉ.

The controversy around the misreporting of star presenter Ryan Tubridy’s salary was raised at Leaders’ Questions for a third successive day on Thursday.

Mr Boyd Barrett questioned the classification of high earners within RTÉ as “the talent” as he insisted that lower paid workers in the organisation deserve more recognition for their efforts.


The TD alleged that a “plot” was hatched to conceal the additional payments made to Tubridy from the public and Oireachtas parliament.

At one point in the exchanges, the Dail Speaker, Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fearghail, warned the Dun Laoghaire TD against abusing Dail privilege by making claims he could not stand up.

Mr Boyd Barrett said: “There was this idea there was a group called ‘the talent’ who are on staggering salaries – multiples of what ordinary workers got – who are treated differently than the vast majority of workers and journalists and crew and so on, who apparently are not talent, but who in actuality make RTÉ function and provide the journalism, provide the broadcasting on which we depend, who are treated shockingly.

“Which suggests the Government and this House have to be responsible for a massive cultural shift to end that sort of obnoxious inequality and restore the credibility of public service broadcasting.”


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Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue said there had been a ‘shocking failure of governance’ at senior levels in RTE (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr McConalogue said public trust in public service broadcasting has been “seriously damaged”.

“In return for the citizens paying a fee towards public service broadcasting, we expect, and they do get fair and impartial and balanced coverage,” he said.


“What they also expect is transparency in relation to the way that their fees and their money is paid to a public service broadcaster and in terms of how it’s spent.”

He added: “The Government wants to see a strong future for public service broadcasting in this country, something I think we all put a very strong value on.

“And that’s why it has been so disappointing to see that breach of trust in terms of the last couple of weeks, and the lack of transparency in relation to salaries, and indeed the challenges and weaknesses in relation to governance as well.”

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