Timeline of calls made before Minister’s interview and RTÉ chair’s departure

Timeline Of Calls Made Before Minister’s Interview And Rté Chair’s Departure
Siún Ní Raghallaigh had indicated she may resign in a phone call at 2.30pm last Thursday, the Oireachtas Media Committee heard. Photo: PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Minister for Media Catherine Martin has outlined a timeline of events leading up to her live interview where she failed to express confidence in the former chair of the RTÉ board.

Siún Ní Raghallaigh said the Minister’s failure to express confidence in her factored into her decision to resign hours after the Prime Time episode aired on Thursday.


Ms Martin outlined a flurry of calls in the hours after the chair had admitted that she had given the Minister incorrect information on Monday and Wednesday that week.

This culminated in Ms Martin failing to express confidence in Ms Ní Raghallaigh and stating that she was “deeply disappointed” that she had not been given the correct information.

Ms Martin said that at 10am, Ms Ní Raghallaigh called her department to say that she had inadvertently given the Minister incorrect information in two meetings on Monday and Wednesday.

Thursday, 11am

The department’s assistant secretary told the Minister about the call.


Thursday, 2pm

Ms Ní Raghallaigh was told the Minister was concerned about the incorrect information she had been given and that she would write a letter to state her disappointment.

The chair said she regretted the error and then stated that months previous, she had informed the then secretary general to say the independent process had concluded in relation to a former RTÉ executive and that “she imagined” she would also have referred to the role of the board in approving it.

Thursday, around 2.30pm

Ms Ní Raghallaigh rang the secretary general of the Department of Media and expressed her “unhappiness at the prospect of receiving a letter” from the Minister voicing her disappointment.

“She was stating that she felt if I wrote a letter that I was disappointed, that she would see that as a lack of confidence and she would have to consider her position,” Ms Martin told the Oireachtas Media Committee in response to questions from Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú.


Thursday, around 4.30pm

The chair called the assistant secretary to say that RTÉ had received a press query about the approval of exit packages and the role of the remuneration committee of the RTÉ board.

The assistant secretary also called the former secretary general to check Ms Ní Raghallaigh’s comment of having “imagined” being informed.

RTE staff cuts
The RTÉ sign outside the broadcaster’s headquarters (Liam McBurney/PA)


The former secretary general recalled being told the settlement had been reached but had no recollection that it had been approved by the board, the committee heard.

Thursday, around 6.45pm

The secretary general rang Ms Ní Raghallaigh to say the Minister had decided a letter would be sent to her and a meeting would be requested for the following morning, either online or in person.

Ms Martin said Ms Ní Raghallaigh had been aware since Wednesday that she was due to go on Prime Time on Thursday, and she was told during the call that if the Minister was asked about the incorrect information given, “it’s not a thing I could conceal”.


“The chair stated that she was not happy at the idea of being called to another meeting that week,” Ms Martin said.

The secretary general relayed that to the Minister, but Ms Martin said she “wasn’t going to change her mind” on the need for a meeting and so the secretary general rang the chair back at 7.10pm to inform her of this.

The Minister said she sent the letter at around 7pm or 7.30pm.

Thursday, 9.30pm

Ms Martin appeared on RTÉ's Prime Time.

Friday, 1am

Ms Ní Raghallaigh issued a resignation statement just before 1am on Friday.

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