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Siún Ní Raghallaigh profile: From cleaning up RTÉ controversy to becoming a casualty

The Donegal woman had long career in broadcasting and production before becoming chairwoman of RTÉ in 2022

Siún Ní Raghallaigh, who became chair of the RTÉ board in November 2022, was seen as one of brooms “cleaning things up” in the broadcaster during the months of controversy since the middle of last year.

In the end, her term at the broadcaster lasted just 14 months, becoming another casualty of a controversy that has dogged RTÉ for more than six months.

In a resignation statement issued by a Dublin public relations firm in the early hours of Friday morning, she said that it had become “abundantly clear” she no longer had the confidence of the Minister for Media Catherine Martin.

“My resignation is a source of sadness to me, but it is unavoidable,” she said in the statement emailed to newsdesks at 12.48am.

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Just three hours earlier, the Minister had told RTÉ in an interview on Prime Time she was “deeply disappointed” that she had twice been misinformed on details she gave about exit packages agreed with departing executives and that one had, in fact, been agreed by the board. The Minister twice declined to express confidence in Ní Raghallaigh when asked on the TV programme and instead said she was awaiting an explanation from the RTÉ chair about why she was misinformed at a meeting the Minister had requested for Friday morning.

The writing was on the wall. She had to go.

Originally from Dunfanaghy in Co Donegal, Ní Raghallaigh (66) has a background in finance, television and film production, and previously served as the chair of TG4 for several years. She was appointed as chair of RTÉ's board in November 2022, replacing Moya Doherty.

She came to widespread public prominence last June as the face of the RTÉ board in the fallout of the current scandal, which began with revelations former presenter Ryan Tubridy had received €225,000 in undisclosed payments over several previous years.

The view among members of the Oireachtas media committee, who held numerous hearings on the RTÉ saga, was that Ní Raghallaigh was someone “steadying the ship” and cleaning up the broadcaster, following the past failings in the organisation.

This week it emerged Ní Raghallaigh had twice assured Minister for Media Catherine Martin the RTÉ board had not approved financial exit packages for departing senior executives, when in fact its remuneration committee had signed off on an exit package for former chief financial officer Richard Collins last year.

In her resignation statement Ní Raghallaigh said she had previously “appraised” the department about the exit package at the time last October. But in meetings with the Minister this week she said she had “neglected to recollect” the payout was approved by the remuneration committee, when asked if the board had any role.

Before her time in RTÉ, Ní Raghallaigh was best known as one of the founding members of Teilifís na Gaeilge (TnaG), which became TG4. She served as chair of the Irish language broadcaster’s board from 2012 until April 2022.

She began her career as a finance manager for Elan, a subsidiary of delivery company DHL, and studied certified accountancy at night, qualifying after six years.

Her entry into media came as the group financial controller of the former Sunday Tribune, after which she played a major role setting up TG4. In the early 2000s she was chief executive of Tyrone Productions, the production company co-owned by Ms Doherty, who she succeeded as RTÉ chair.

More recently she served as chief executive of Ardmore Studios in Co Wicklow – in which she held a stake – before it was sold to an American joint venture. She was also involved in the establishment of Troy Studios, in the former Dell Studios in Limerick, in 2016.

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