You May Detect A Pattern

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By Mark Tighe in today’s Sunday Times (behind paywall):

RTE’s most-used “external correspondents”:

Harry McGee (Irish Times) €25,165
Michael O’Regan (Irish Times) €15,785
Fionnan Sheahan (Irish Independent) €13,800
Pat Leahy (Sunday Business Post) €10,260
Marie-Louise O’Donnell (FG senator) €9,784
Shane Coleman (formerly Sunday Tribune) €8,560
Noel Whelan (Irish Times) €6,240
Terry Prone (The Communications Clinic) €5,210
Michael Clifford (Sunday Times) €4,765
Justine McCarthy (Sunday Times) €2,860
Fintan O’Toole (Irish Times) €2,740
Pól Ó Conghaile (freelance travel writer) €2,705
Brendan Keenan (Irish Independent) €2,675
Paul O’Brien (Irish Examiner) €2,645
Stephen Collins (Irish Times) €2,533
Mary Minihan (Irish Times) €2,515
Catherine Halloran (The Irish Star) €1,945

Figures are the amount paid to pundits by RTE from 2009-2011. the “average contributor fee” was €25-€150. Terry Prone and Marie-Louise O’Donnell are the only non-journalists on the list.

And €54,978 (45.7%) of the €120,187 total went to six Irish Times journalists.

Cosy.

“The payments aren’t the biggest issue, it’s the frequency with which some organisations and journalists are used. Does regional spread, gender balance and a variety of views come into it when selecting these journalists? Or are we getting a concentration of views around the value system of one or two particular media outlets? I’m very interested in the criteria of selection.”

Eamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fail’s communications spokesman

*Harry McGee also appears on Irish language shows