RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan says he will take pay cut

 

Radio presenter Gerry Ryan has caved into demands from the public and RTÉ management by agreeing to take a pay cut.

An emotional Ryan made the announcement on his 2fm radio programme this morning. He said he had received a “strong message” from his audience and that it was now “the right thing to do”.

All 10 of RTÉ's top paid presenters have now agreed to a 10 per cent cut in their wages as their contribution to the €68 million worth of savings the broadcaster has to make this year because of a downturn in advertising.

Ryan Tubridy's announcement at the weekend had left Gerry Ryan as the only top presenter in RTÉ who had not taken a pay cut.

Ryan, who earns €558,000 a year, said he had spent a “long time coming to terms with this issue, soul-searching and thinking about this in order to have something meaningful to say.

“It has taken me a long time to come to a decision and I apologise to those of you listening who think it has taken too long”.

Ryan has been under severe pressure to accept a 10 per cent cut as requested by RTÉ director-general Cathal Goan.

Last weekend a senior RTÉ management source told The Irish Timesthat Ryan, was “acting the maggot” over his failure to do so.

Ryan said he did not want to rush into the decision. He said he wanted to arrive at a point when he could say something that was meaningful.

“My greatest fear is that I would say something glib and something that did not take into account the incredibly serious situation we find ourselves in not just in RTÉ, that would be a selfish, myopic place to look, but in the entire country ,” he said.

“I look at the challenges facing every single one of you this morning.”

Ryan said he spoke at length with his children and those nearest to him about the decision, but said he had also listened to the voice of his listeners who had been texting and e-mailing him about taking a cut.

“This programme has been on air for 21 years and for those years I have relied on you, the audience, to provide me with the guidance and support and inspiration that have gotten me through every single day.

“It has made it an honour for me to be sitting in this seat and all along you have never steered me wrong. You have made me smile, you have slapped me across the wrist where appropriate but you have always kept faith.

“With that in mind, over the last few days in particular, I asked myself what should I do, and I feel very strongly, and I can now say this sincerely, and it is a meaningful response to this issue is that you, the audience, expect me to take the pay cut. Your support has helped me come to this decision,” he said.

Ryan said he was very mindful that his colleagues in RTÉ were now facing pay cuts because of the budget shortfall, but that every employee in the country will be faced with the challenge of cutbacks.

RTÉ management is expected to come back to the unions in the organisation with a series of cutbacks which include pay cuts for all of its 2,000 staff within the next two weeks.

“I believe that many out there who face greater challenges than pay cuts or cutbacks, those who have already lost their job and I'm mindful that many of you in the audience have had to pay that price already. What that in mind, I have agreed to take a pay cut,” he said.