Negotiations over Ryan Tubridy's return to RTÉ Radio reportedly broke down due to a controversial sentence in a statement he issued on Wednesday.

Tubridy's two-year contract to return to the RTÉ airwaves from September was nearly in place when the former "Late Late Show" host issued a statement on Wednesday welcoming the second Grant Thornton report.

While the statement was largely unremarkable, Tubridy did say: “It is also clear that my actual income from RTÉ in 2020 and 2021 matches what was originally published as my earnings for those years and RTÉ has not yet published its top ten earner details for 2022."

RTÉ Director-General Kevin Bakhurst said on RTÉ Prime Time on Thursday night that he sought clarification from Tubridy's team on the statement. He was told that Tubridy and his team "stood by it."

After the clarification, RTÉ decided to pull the plug on negotiations.

"I think the really important thing for everybody is, we now have the restated figures for people's salaries," Bakhurst said on Thursday night.

"The whole issue was caused by salaries being incorrectly stated and there being confusion about it.

"We've had the two reports from Grant Thornton, we've had the salaries of Ryan properly stated now and it is completely counterproductive for people to start questioning those stated salaries. Those stated salaries have to be accepted."

He added: "We now have figures that are agreed on and we can't have them be undermined or questioned in a statement of that kind. It doesn't help us to move on or re-establish trust in the organization.

"In the end, people need to accept what has happened and we need to actually make corrections, make sure those things don't happen again.

"But we have to agree on the basic facts and that means everyone at RTÉ."

Bakhurst went on to say that the deal which is no longer going ahead would have seen Tubridy return to his slot on RTÉ Radio One from September 4, as well as host a new podcast, for a salary of €170,000.

Tubridy, who concluded his tenure as host of RTÉ's "The Late Late Show" in May, has not presented his RTÉ Radio show since June 22, the same day that RTÉ admitted he received a series of payments totaling €345,000 above his published salary between 2017 and 2022

RTÉ initially said it paid Tubridy a salary of €446,250 in 2020 and €440,000 in 2021. However, it did not include a €75,000 payment made to the presenter in both years via a barter account.

RTÉ has since issued statements adjusting Tubridy's actual earnings for the two years to include the €75,000 payments and now state that Tubridy earned €522,250 in 2020 and €515,000 in 2021. 

Tubridy's statement on Wednesday appeared to indicate that the yearly €75,000 payments - made through a special deal with Renault - did not amount to a salary top-up. 

Bakhurst said on Thursday night that as part of the now scuppered deal, Tubridy was going to pay back the €150,000.

Kevin Bakhurst. (

Kevin Bakhurst. (

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Friday, Bakhurst said Tubridy had to accept some responsibility for what has been a "hugely damaging scandal" for RTÉ.

Bakhurst said he was "particularly disappointed" by Tubridy's statement and added that the presenter had been poorly advised by people around him. 

"I feel there was an issue throughout about the need to accept your role in what has been a hugely damaging scandal for everybody involved, particularly for RTÉ, who need to take the vast majority of the blame, but there are others, including Ryan and his team, who should take some of the blame and take some responsibility," Bakhurst told Morning Ireland. 

Bakhurst said he thought Tubridy was "shocked and disappointed" to learn on Thursday that negotiations would be stopped, but acknowledged that "over time, the door is not shut."

Tubridy has continued to be paid despite not being on air, Bakhurst said. "We've continued to pay him because I thought it was the fair thing to do over that period because we would normally pay someone over the summer and it was our decision to take him off air for a while.

"But we didn't pay him at the level that they were seeking for him to be paid."

When asked if RTÉ will continue to pay Tubridy, Bakhurst said: "Well, we need to resolve that, that's the next step now."