Currently the situation at RTÉ is causing widespread disquiet.
The NUJ and many women are angry that male presenters are paid considerably more than their female counterparts, the head of the company is concerned that it is losing money while the general public is worried about a possible increase in the price of the TV licence.
I have a suggestion that could solve all these problems at once: reduce the salaries of the men until they match those of the women.
RTÉ bosses have been accused of gagging staff who want to talk publicly about the gender pay gap controversy.
During a meeting of RTÉ National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members on Thursday it was claimed that management had refused to give permission to some of its stars to engage with the media about the ongoing debate over pay.
One presenter told the meeting she had been approached by a number of newspapers and asked to comment on the issue but when she asked for authorisation from RTE it was denied.
Accountant and insolvency expert Vanessa Foran (her off the telly!) kindly agreed to have ‘look see’ through RTÉ’s recently published Annual Report for 2016.
What she saw will make you TORCH your remote.
If anyone was watching Broadsheet on the Telly last Thursday night you might remember I had a look at the RTE Annual Report for Broadsheet, but unfortunately we didn’t get to it on the broadcast.
I would like to fill you in on two particular areas that got my attention: The distribution of the Licence Fee income and payments to the directors.
First, a look at allocation of the licence fee.
In 2016, Licence Fee Income was reported as €179.1 million.
Of that 57.4% [€102,803,400] was allocated to television (RTÉ 1 & 2).
Of the €25.7 million allocated to private providers, 14% of total taxpayers’ finance, €22.6 million of it is paid to suppliers outside of our national broadcaster’s jurisdiction or, if you like, Tax Take area.
That’s €22.6 million = 12.6 % of the Irish taxpayers’ 2016 contribution to our national broadcaster.
Money that could go to up and coming screen writers, pilots, animation development, wildlife programming – all sorts of Irish stuff. It might even introduce some new faces to the RTÉ canteen, which I feel confident and competent enough to assume is something we would all like to see.
As a viewer myself, and a taxpayer, I would prefer to see more of this, the above, even if it is awful, than see RTÉ pay for and host repeats of shows I can already get on ITV or TLC, or YouTube.
For comparison, as that’s a requirement of any accountant’s report, the sum spent by our national broadcaster on acquiring programming from Irish suppliers was €3.1 million (1.7%)… €3.1m v €22.6m…1.7% v 12.6%.
[Note: If information that this money was spent on getting into the Rio Olympics and other events, becomes available, then I will reverse my opinion but, as I write this, I am of the opinion that sporting events and such are in the RTÉ Sports and Current Affairs allocations].
Meanwhile, the report’s Governance Section contains the directors’ emoluments….
RTÉ Authority chair Moya Doherty is paid twice what her fellow directors get paid.
Is Ms Doherty worth 100% more than anyone else? Argue that among yourselves but I would have to state, without any apology, that €3,100 plus mileage etc, per meeting, is outrageous.
And while it pales the other sum of €1,600 per head, €1,600 is still outrageous. It is an abuse of taxpayers’ money in my very humble opinion
And it’s all multiplied by 10.
The sum of €41,000 is also recorded for mileage and subsistence (up ten grand from previous) for directors. This is €41,000 of expenses.
Interestingly, there is good attendance at meetings, but with this kind of stipend per meeting why wouldn’t there be?
Charities and your local credit unions are forbidden from paying their directors any fees so why should RTÉ?
Why, in receipt of €179,100,000 from taxpayers, should RTÉ be allowed pay a multi-millionaire €3,100 to attend a meeting? And, repeat it, month after month for 10 meetings a year?
A hospital would never get away with that.
Also, Aengus MacGrianna is the staff representative on the board, and gets this €1,600 (aka a €16k annual top-up.) Why is this coming from RTÉ? Why isn’t his union paying it?
Perhaps the Broadsheet commentariat could decide the answer to this and my other questions between yourselves. But do let me know the outcome.
Am I alone in thinking the salaries (above) for these world class journalists and correspondents are fairly modest compared to what Sean O’Rourke, Joe Duffy Ray D’Arcy, Miriam O’Callaghan John Murray, Ryan Tubridy and, of course, Marian [Finucane] have been getting for years? I thought they would be on a lot more and our lot on considerably less….
RTE annual report 2016. Loss of €20m. RTE blames 1916 commemoration. But average pay rose 8% from €77k to €84k…There’s no detail on the €108m receipt from recent sale of Montrose. How many redundancy millionaires is RTE now creating?
John Carter Cash, the only son of Johnny Cash and June Carter, is featured on Nathan Goes to Nashville, a documentary following Nathan Carter as he journeys to the home of country music.
He tells Nathan: “My father certainly loved Ireland. He had a special place in his heart for Ireland. I know that he went there in the mid to late 1950s and on his first trip there he wrote a song called ’40 Shades of Green… He got there, he saw how beautiful it was, he saw the history that was right there to be seen and he was connected, of course, by blood, my father has Irish blood, but by heart and by the love for a beautiful, beautiful place and a fine, kind people.”
The documentary also features some archive footage of Johnny Cash speaking in Ireland in 1990…
Tonight on Missing You viewers meet Emma Doyle and her family as they try to support her from afar while partner Paul goes through treatment for skin cancer.
Emma Doyle (26) left Kilkenny and her parents Joe and Johanne, to move to Perth, Australia in 2014. That year she met partner Paul Hobbs and soon after came the happy news that they were expecting a baby.
But just before their son Klay was born, Paul was diagnosed with stage 4 skin cancer which had spread to his brain. Doctors told him that if his treatment didn’t work, he had a life expectancy of 12 months or less. Emma is a rock of support to Paul, but when times get difficult she calls home to her parents in Kilkenny, for a shoulder to cry on.
A new documentary series on RTÉ One gives an unprecedented insight into the way science, technology and data are changing Gaelic Games.
The four-part Irish language series GAA Nua, presented by All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer Dara Ó Cinnéide (top), will reveal the lengths that GAA teams across the country are going to in their quest for victory.
Over four half-hours, starting tonight at 7.30pm on RTÉ One, Ó Cinnéide travels throughout Ireland meeting the managers, coaches, players, scientists, statisticians and medics using science and technology to revolutionise the way Gaelic Games are played.
He asks if there is an advantage to the technology and expertise being used by teams across the country and whether the sport is better off without it. Does technology help or hinder as players put in blood, sweat and tears as they strive for success?
The latest episode of Skype-based series Missing You
On tonight’s episode of Missing You, siblings Romy and Cole Delaney open up about the untimely death of their younger brother Fionn.
Romy (27) and Cole (26) come from a large family in Laois. Their younger brother Fionn died suddenly in October 2015, from a brain haemorrhage. He was just about to turn 19.
Romy, who lives in London, was heavily pregnant with her first child, and wasn’t able to make it home in time before Fionn passed away.
Filming for Missing You in their first year of grief, and in Baby Arlo’s first year, Romy and Cole talk about Fionn, the night he passed, and the call Romy received to tell her the news. In their grief they try hard to focus on the new life in front of them.
Savills has concluded the sale of just under 9 acres of land on RTÈs Donnybrook campus to Cairn Homes Plc.
“RTÉ is happy to confirm the sale of land on our Donnybrook site. Our decision to sell this land was driven by the fact that, since 2008, RTÉ has been operating with vastly reduced commercial and licence fee income, approximately €100m annually.
As a result, we have been under-investing in the organisation for almost a decade, a situation that is unsustainable.
The funds raised will now be invested in capital projects, including much-needed technology upgrades and key digital infrastructure, and in making important changes to our organisational structure, essential workplace improvements, and reducing debt levels.
RTÉ is playing catch-up in an industry and market that is evolving rapidly, as Irish audiences embrace new technologies which are influencing how and when they consume content, including RTE content.
The investment which has been enabled by this land sale, along with further restructuring of the organisation, will allow us to better serve the needs of our audiences.”