Media minister ‘concerned and frustrated’ that scandal continues to blight RTÉ's reputation

Media minister ‘concerned and frustrated’ that scandal continues to blight RTÉ's reputation

IRELAND’S media minister has expressed her concern that the controversy around RTÉ payments continues to hamper efforts to rebuild trust in the national broadcaster.

Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, met with RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst to urge transparency over exit payments made to staff in the wake of the scandal which erupted last year over undeclared payments made to former Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy.

Chair of the RTÉ Board, Siún Ni Raghallaigh was also in attendance at the meeting, which took place yesterday afternoon, where Ms Martin expressed her “concern and frustration at how the ongoing controversy in relation to exit packages is undermining the good work that the Chair and DG are undertaking to reform RTÉ and rebuild trust in our national broadcaster”.

Director General of RTÉ Kevin Bakhurst leaving the meeting with Media Minister Catherine Martin

During the meeting Ms Martin called on the broadcaster to remove confidentiality agreements from all future exit payments.

“I impressed on the Chair and Director General that in the context of any possible future severance arrangements, confidentiality agreements should be avoided if at all possible, and that a cap on the levels of settlements made should be introduced,” she confirmed.

“This is a critical juncture for RTÉ, and developing a new culture of openness and fairness is essential if trust in the national broadcaster is to be restored,” she added.

Minister for the Media and Arts, Catherine Martin made a statement after her meeting with RTÉ management

Ms Martin confirmed that Mr Bakhurst had agreed to “seek further legal advice as to the levels of disclosure which can be made” with regards to her proposals.

“While I am conscious of the need to respect legal advice, as well as individual employment and privacy rights, I reminded the DG of the important public interest at play which must also be a factor in considering this matter,” she added.

“I also asked that he consider all possible options to bring further clarity and transparency to these matters.”