Bowman stands by Kenny RTÉ pay story

Tue, Oct 18, 2011, 01:00

BROADCASTER AND historian John Bowman is standing by his story that Pat Kenny sought pay parity with Gay Byrne as RTÉ’s top presenter.

Bowman said the revelations, which are in a new book about 50 years of RTÉ television, were in the RTÉ Authority archives and he was simply reporting what was there.

“I stand over the report. I’m reporting accurately the RTÉ Authority reports. They were the exchanges as reported in the index that was reported,” he said.

The minutes of the authority are from September 1992 when Byrne, who was then the presenter of the Late Late Showand RTÉ’s top paid presenter, was being challenged by Kenny, who had a show on Saturday nights called Kenny Live!.

According to the book, the then RTÉ director general, Vincent Finn, revealed that Kenny “feels very strong about the Gay Byrne thing” and believed that he was better than the man who was RTÉ’s linchpin broadcaster for several decades.

The information is contained in a new book, Window and Mirror. RTÉ Television: 1961-2011,written by Bowman.

Both Kenny and Byrne have rubbished suggestions of a rivalry between them when they both were vying for top spot in RTÉ.

In an exchange on yesterday’s Today with Pat Kennyprogramme, Kenny suggested that he was surprised to be included in the book and that he had not made such a request of the RTÉ Authority.

“It’s a pity it didn’t happen, but that was then and this is now,” he told Bowman.

Bowman still stood by what he had written in the book.

Bowman said it was important to stress that, though he remained employed at RTÉ, the book was an independent publication even if it inconvenienced his colleagues.

“I have to write about colleagues and friends. The only rule I applied was if the evidence I came across was about Joe Bloggs would it go in and if the answer about that was yes, it went in whether I liked the guy or not,” he said.

“It is easy for me but it is not easy for the likes of Pat Kenny or Gay Byrne.”