RTÉ thrown into crisis over Tubsgate

National broadcaster RTÉ is facing serious problems in relation to public confidence and a betrayal of trust following revelations that its flagship presenter Ryan Tubridy received €345,000 in hidden payments between 2017 and the start of this year. The fees were never disclosed in annual pay statements and raise questions over RTÉ’s accounting practices.

The extra fees were paid as part of a barter deal agreed with Late Late Show sponsor Renault.

Correcting the public record, RTÉ said Tubridy received a total of €3.15 million between 2017 and 2022. His annual pay in each of those years was always more than €500,000 which was in conflict with several RTÉ statements that suggested his salary was less than that amount. At the same time, RTÉ was lobbying Government for increased public funding.

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Outgoing RTÉ director general Dee Forbes was not available for comment. In a statement, RTÉ said that Forbes has been suspended from her duties pending further investigations. Forbes officially steps down from her post in early July. RTÉ chairwoman Siún Ní Raghallaigh told Six One News that she was fully aware that there was a serious “breach of trust”.

RTÉ has appointed Adrian Lynch, director of audience, channels and marketing, as deputy DG.


In a statement to the media, Ryan Tubridy said that “errors” in the reporting of RTÉ accounts were a matter for the broadcaster itself. “Obviously I’m disappointed to be at the centre of this story,” he said, “but unfortunately I can’t shed any light on why RTÉ treated these payments in the way they did, nor can I answer for their mistakes in this regard.”

Tubridy’s agent Noel Kelly of NK Management also said it was an RTÉ matter.

The crisis poses serious questions about RTÉ in terms of trust, governance, corporate culture and transparency. The disclosures will raise doubts about whether or not other top presenters may have been involved in similar payment deals. It will also do little to help morale among wider staff in Montrose, who having taken pay cuts will feel a sense of betrayal.

The NUJ are pursuing the matter on behalf of their members.

Former RTÉ board director Willie O’Reilly has called for both an internal and external investigation. He told RTÉ Radio News at One that he was “shocked” by the revelations and said “someone dropped the ball”. One or all of three departments in Montrose would have been aware of the hidden transactions – senior management, finance and commercial.


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