Report on RTÉ exit schemes may take another two weeks

Minister for Media Catherine Martin also says number not paying TV licence fee is falling

Minister for Media Catherine Martin has said the number of people not paying their television licence fees in the wake of recent controversies at RTÉ is falling.

In July, Ms Martin said there had been a 31 per cent reduction in the number of people paying their annual €160 licence fee in the second week of that month compared with last year.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ms Martin said the drop in renewals coincided with the controversy over pay and conditions for top earners at the station. “You can definitely see a trend there,” said Ms Martin.

But she continued: “Actually having said that, the latest figures that I can give you from today, the deficit, it has gone from 16,222 to 12,039, which represents 25 per cent [of renewals due]. It had been 30 per cent and over as you are well aware”.


Ms Martin said the full extend of the deficit at RTÉ in the wake of the crisis, and the likely cost to the Government of interim funding would be made known to her in a report from State’s New Economy and Recovery Authority (NewERA) which provides financial and commercial advice to Government ministers and departments in relation to State companies.

She said she expected the NewERA report “imminently”.

She said there were questions about whether the NewERA report could be published. To do so may raise implications for the publication of financial details of other commercial State bodies, she said.

Ms Martin acknowledged there was a further, RTÉ-commissioned report on two voluntary exit schemes offered to certain staff by the station in recent years. This report from legal firm McCann FitzGerald was expected to be delivered in September.

The exit schemes became the focus of public attention during Oireachtas committee hearings when it emerged the former chief financial officer (CFO) of RTÉ had availed of a scheme in 2020.

Ms Martin said the latest position with the report was that it could be ready in “a week or two”.

Controversy surrounding payments made by RTÉ began on June 22nd when the broadcaster announced it had incorrectly declared the earnings of its star presenter Ryan Tubridy by €345,000 over the period 2017 to 2022.

This led to intense scrutiny of Ireland’s public service broadcaster, including its governance and accounting practices and hospitality given to RTÉ's advertising clients.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist