Ireland’s top television and radio presenter is leaving the national broadcasting company RTE for its rival Newstalk.

Pat Kenny, (65), has had a storied career with RTE and is one of the best known faces and voices in Ireland. His departure sent shockwaves throughout the Irish broadcasting world.

He is understood to have become disaffected in recent years at how the station management treated him. He was bumped off the Late Late Show, Ireland’s premier TV program, which he presented, for a younger host Ryan Tubridy.

His move to Newstalk also comes after severe salary cutbacks for many stars at the station as the loss leading government owned service continues to struggle. Kenny earned close to $1 million per annum.

In a statement Kenny said; "Like many of my colleagues, I have always regarded Newstalk as a valuable source of news and comment.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the growth of Newstalk and to be part of a new team where, hopefully, my experience will also add value.”

"I am relishing the challenge ahead and looking forward to a new chapter in my career, with the world of independent broadcasting, helping to develop Newstalk into the talk radio of choice for listeners countrywide."

RTÉ Director General Noel Curran described him as a "versatile and popular broadcaster".

"Pat Kenny's contract with RTÉ expired earlier this year and we have been aware for some time that he had an offer from commercial radio.

"Through lengthy negotiations every effort was made to retain Pat's services but unfortunately we could not come to an agreement,"  Curran said.