Siún Ní Raghallaigh resigns as RTÉ chairwoman

Siún Ní Raghallaigh Resigns As Rté Chairwoman
RTE Board chair Siun Ni Raghallaigh and RTE director general Kevin Bakhurst.
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

Siún Ní Raghallaigh has resigned as chair of the RTÉ board.

The sudden departure followed revelations that Media Minister Catherine Martin had been “misinformed” about the approval of an exit package for a former RTÉ executive.


Ms Martin said she had been given repeated assurances that the board had no role in signing off the package to former RTÉ chief financial officer Richard Collins.

However, it has since emerged that that the remuneration committee of the board, of which Ms Ní Raghallaigh is a member, had approved of Mr Collins’ exit arrangements.

The minister had said she was seeking an urgent meeting with Ms Ní Raghallaigh on Friday over the matter.


However, hours later, Ms Ní Raghallaigh said it was “abundantly clear” her position is no longer tenable as she had lost the confidence of media minister Catherine Martin.

In her statement, she said the exit of Mr Collins was approved by the remuneration committee of the board on October 9th.

RTE pay revelations
Media Minister Catherine Martin speaking at Government Buildings (Niall Carson/PA)


However, she said her misrepresentation of the process was not “intentional”.

At issue were changes to the terms of reference of the remuneration committee introduced after July last year when Kevin Bakhurst became the organisation’s director-general.

Under the new terms, all changes to executive pay and terms had to be approved by committee.

Discussing meetings involving the Media Minister this week, Ms Ní Raghallaigh said: “I was asked if the Board knew about the exit packages for (former strategy director) Rory Coveney and Richard Collins.


“I said that I was aware of them, but they had not come before the full Board. However, I neglected to recollect that Richard Collins' exit package did go before the Renumeration Committee.

“This was not an intentional misrepresentation, and I subsequently contacted the Department to clarify the details and remind them that I had previously appraised them of the matter in October.”

Ms Ní Raghallaigh said Mr Bakhurst was also present in the two meetings with the minister and her officials this week, which lasted for more than three hours.

In her statement shortly before 1am on Friday, Ms Ní Raghallaigh said she took up the role as RTÉ chair in November 2022 because of her strong belief in the importance of public-service media and added that she had prioritised reforming the organisation to “secure its future”.

She said she made the decision to resign after consulting the board and director general about Ms Martin’s RTÉ Prime Time earlier interview on Thursday night about the matter.

She said: “I would like to thank my fellow Board members and RTÉ’s Leadership Team for their hard work in recent months. I would also like to thank the staff of RTÉ for their dedication and commitment throughout this challenging time for the organisation.”

She added: “Serving as Chair of the RTÉ Board is a privilege which requires the confidence of the Minister. It is abundantly clear that I no longer do. My resignation is a source of sadness to me, but it is unavoidable.

“There is a very urgent need for the funding model of RTÉ to be restored and for the transformation process to continue apace. I do not want this matter to distract from that. That must remain our unswerving collective objective.”


Mr Bakhurst said Ms Ní Raghallaigh will be “sorely missed”.

In a statement to staff, Kevin Bakhurst said he was sharing the announcement of her resignation with “deep regret”.

He said: “Siún has been an excellent chair and a great support to me throughout an incredibly challenging time for RTÉ.

“Without Siún’s experience, insight, guidance and optimism, beginning the process of meaningfully transforming RTÉ would have been a bigger challenge. Her integrity, hard work, commitment to public service and her appreciation of the important work you all do in serving audiences, despite many challenges, made her a valuable ally.

“Siún believed in RTÉ and its future and she will be sorely missed.

“I’d like to reassure you, our partners and our audiences that I and my Interim Leadership Team remain committed to RTÉ and to continuing to drive the necessary change to secure the future of this organisation and transform it into a national public service media organisation we can all be proud of.”

RTÉ has come under heavy scrutiny to release details of exit packages for executives dating back to 2016.

Many of the arrangements are subject to confidentiality agreements, a practice that the media minister has also questioned.


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