RTE officials confirmed the situation as part of a document which said four stars are earning more than €300,000 a year and 10 are earning more than €100,000 by setting themselves up as private companies instead of taking up staff roles.
In correspondence given to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, RTE said that a total of 81 people working at the broadcaster have set themselves up as private limited companies.
The broadcaster said four presenters are earning over €300,000 a year; 10 are earning between €100,000 and €300,000 a year; and 53 more are earning up to €50,000 a year.
Although RTÉ did not reveal the names of the officials, in its last salary publication released in 2015 only three presenters — Ryan Tubridy (€495,000), Joe Duffy (€416,893), and Ray D’Arcy (€300,000) — were earning €300,000 or more.
The breakdown means another mystery presenter has been added to the €300,000-plus a year salary bracket, with the 2015 figures showing that presenters Miriam O’Callaghan (€299,000), Marian Finucane (€295,000), and Sean O’Rourke (€290,113) were on near-€300,000 salaries at the time.
Meanwhile, the same RTÉ document shows that every episode of Fair City costs €53,500 to produce, meaning the annual bill for the popular soap comes to €10.7m.
The BBC spends €270,000 per episode on its flagship soap opera, EastEnders.
At a PAC meeting last month, RTÉ director general Dee Forbes staunchly defended the State broadcaster’s salary levels and emphasised that RTÉ is trying to provide as much quality Irish-based productions as possible.
Ms Forbes also noted that RTÉ and other traditional broadcasters face ongoing battles with Netflix and other streaming firms for new and existing viewers.