Minister Martin's announcement of RTÉ external review followed the scandal of €345,000 secret overpayments to star presenter Ryan Tubridy and public fears there might be more hidden overpayments to other stars.
Martin also said that it would not be possible to have discussions on how RTÉ should be funded in the future in the absence of trust and that all such discussions would be paused pending the outcome of the review.
“RTÉ and public service broadcasting have been badly damaged by the revelations in recent days. The government is moving quickly to finalize the terms of this independent external review,” Martin said.
“It is vitally important that we get this right as we need to restore public confidence in RTÉ. My department will be engaging with key stakeholders in the coming days, in order to finalize the terms of reference.
"In the meantime, I have asked RTÉ to ensure there is full cooperation with any Oireachtas hearings and that outstanding questions in the public interest are answered comprehensively.”
This week’s revelations at RTÉ signal potential deeper challenges in the organisation
I have decided to commission an external independent review into the governance & culture at RTÉ
Full statement following my meeting with RTÉ Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh:https://t.co/5uRTxRjRxy— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) June 24, 2023
Interim deputy director general of RTÉ Adrian Lynch apologized to staff for the breach of trust and confirmed that all new contracts would be paused until reforms of the system were introduced.
The crisis grew as director general Dee Forbes was suspended, and then resigned.
Tubridy had no apology in his first statement on June 22. He said then “errors” in public declarations were a matter for RTÉ and he personally could not “answer for their mistakes.”
However, he changed tack in a second statement after public outrage grew when he apologized unreservedly for failing to ask questions and seek answers when incorrect pay figures were published.
Tubridy, who stepped down from hosting "The Late Late Show" in May, has not presented his RTÉ radio show since the scandal emerged. On Wednesday, Lynch told an Oireachtas committee that negotiations for Tubridy's radio-only contract had been suspended.
Meanwhile, a number of top RTÉ presenters have publicly declared their salaries this week.
Miriam O’Callaghan said the most recent published fee of €263,500 which she received in 2021 is still correct.
Claire Byrne revealed she is now being paid €280,000 – a drop of €70,000 since she gave up her Monday night television show.
"Liveline" radio host Joe Duffy disclosed that he received €351,000 in fees from the broadcaster in the past year – €300,000 for his radio work and €51,000 for TV projects.
Brendan O’Connor confirmed his pay for a pair of two-hour programs every Saturday and Sunday is €245,004, the same figure he received in 2021.
*This column first appeared in the June 28 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.