Marty Morrissey, an RTÉ presenter and GAA Correspondent, said it was an "error in judgment" to accept the use of a car from Renault for more than five years.

Morrissey issued a statement on Thursday, July 6 "in the interests of openness and transparency" in which he explained the arrangement with Renault.

"In 2017 I was asked to MC a series of functions in Renault garages across the country," Morrissey said in a statement shared on his social media profiles.

"This involved me interviewing several high-profile GAA personalities. As was required of me, I sought RTÉ permission at the time to do this. This permission was granted.

"I did not seek a fee for this engagement. I saw it as GAA-related, interacting with former players who I knew well. Many of the GAA-related engagements I do, I do at no cost. 

"As I hadn't sought a fee, Renault offered me the use of a car. I accepted this offer. The situation carried over informally for a number of years. I ended up MC-ing about 12 such events.

"Since the recent controversy within RTÉ arose, I reflected on this matter. I concluded that it had been an error of judgment on my part to accept the use of the car. I returned it voluntarily to Renault on Friday 23rd June."

Morrissey noted that he had "never been appointed a brand ambassador for Renault" nor was there an "expectation or requirement that I publicly endorse or promote Renault on air, on social media or otherwise while I had the use of a car.

"As far as I was concerned, my use of the car was always a very ad hoc arrangement which did not affect my work with RTÉ.

"I wish to be clear that I have never had a car allowance from RTÉ."

Morrissey said he has apologized to RTÉ, his managers, and colleagues for "any embarrassment or difficulty I have caused them because of this matter."

He further apologized to "any of our viewers and listeners who may feel let down by my actions.

"It was never my intention to let anyone down, least of all myself."

Morrissey said he assured RTÉ that he is "ready to assist, and rectify, any issues which may arise from this matter."

Marty Morrissey statement

— Marty Morrissey (@MartyM_RTE) July 6, 2023

Morrissey's statement was posted the day after it was revealed during a meeting of the Oireachtas Media Committee that an unnamed RTÉ employee had returned a vehicle on Tuesday after using it for five years.

Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley asked RTÉ's Interim Deputy Director General Adrian Lynch on Wednesday if any RTÉ personalities had received a loan of a car in return for being brand ambassadors. 

"I'm aware of one instance where somebody had a loan of car," Lynch said.

"My understanding is that car has been returned and that individual is a staff member of RTÉ."

Lynch said he believed the car was on loan for a period of five years.

"That was not approved," Lynch added, before noting that the car was returned "yesterday."

Interim Deputy Director General Adrian Lynch told the committee he was aware of one instance where a staff member had a "loan of a car" while also having a car allowance, and that the loan car was returned yesterday | Follow updates:

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 5, 2023

RTÉ has been under fire since it emerged last month that it paid former "Late Late Show" presenter Ryan Tubridy €345,000 more than it publicly declared between 2017 and 2022. 

News of that scandal prompted the Irish Government to launch an independent two-branch inquiry into the broadcaster's governance. 

It has since emerged that RTÉ used three separate barter accounts - accounts typically used among media organizations to trade advertising space for goods and services instead of cash. These accounts were used to spend €1.6 million over a ten-year period between 2012 and 2022 on client hospitality and entertainment. 

RTÉ spent €111,000 via barter accounts on tickets, accommodation, and hospitality at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, while the broadcaster also €7,688 on a Spice Girls concert in Croke Park and €13,730 on an Ed Sheeran concert at the same venue. It was also revealed that RTÉ spent €5,000 on flip-flops via a barter account.