RTÉ: 'Growing urgency' to publish salaries of highest earners

RTÉ: 'Growing urgency' to publish salaries of highest earners
At the time of the last release of salaries, Ryan Tubridy was the highest earner on €495,000. RTÉ is facing growing pressure to release the updated figures, according to internal emails. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

RTÉ said there was a “growing urgency” to publish a list of its highest earner salaries in internal emails from more than two months ago - but the broadcaster is still yet to release the figures.

Records reveal how there has been discussion over which year’s set of figures to publish because fees have further fallen over the past twelve months.

RTÉ has not published the information on its highest earners since it released details of 2016 salaries in December 2018 with figures for the following year now long overdue.

Publication of the top ten salaries with a time lag means the figures are often already out of date by the time they are made public, however.

Internal emails now show there was concern over releasing more up to date figures, according to records obtained under FOI from the public service broadcaster.

In the middle of June, RTÉ’s group financial controller Fiona O’Shea suggested they would need to publish two sets of figures this year, for 2017 and 2018.

A member of their communications team responded to say: “While there has been no date agreed as of yet to release details of our highest earners, could we start to prepare for an announcement?” 

The email suggested this could be done to coincide with publication of their annual report, which has not yet been completed.

In an email from June 24, RTÉ’s Head of Communications Joseph Hoban said they were becoming “mindful of the growing urgency around this obligation”.

He said, from a “reputation perspective”, the best option would be to publish even more up to date figures than normal. However, Mr Hoban said this came with “certain complications”.

He asked whether it was possible to prepare a table showing the most up to date fees for the top earners to be used in a preliminary discussion.

He was responding to an email from Ms O’Shea, in which she asked had further consideration been given to a release date for the information.

She wrote in an email: “Latest agreed fees for 2019 might not be useful. It might need to be more current, in order to encompass more recently agreed reductions.

This then comes with complications about releasing current data which I don’t think any of us would be comfortable with.

She said they should prepare a table for both 2017 and 2018 and then “discuss the message around this”.

No further records were released by RTÉ and, in a statement, a spokesman said they had no comment on the contents.

“In relation to publication of the earners of the top ten most highly paid presenters, I don't have a publication date,” he added.

RTÉ hasn’t published the data since December 2018 when details for 2016 were made available.

At the time of that release, Ryan Tubridy remained the top earner on €495,000 per year while Ray D’Arcy was on €450,000.

The rest of the top ten was filled by Joe Duffy, Seán O’Rourke, the late Marian Finucane, Miriam O’Callaghan, Claire Byrne, Bryan Dobson, George Hamilton, and Mary Wilson.

Those figures are understood to have fallen significantly since while Seán O’Rourke – the fourth highest earner – has retired from his Radio 1 show.

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