Ryan Tubridy’s statement in full: RTÉ presenter outlines seven alleged ‘untruths’

RTÉ pay crisis: Broadcaster’s opening statement to the Public Accounts Committee released

Ryan Tubridy and public relations consultant, Ray Gordon pictured arriving at Leinster House this morning where Mr. Tubridy and Noel Kelly are to face the Public Accounts Committee.. Picture Colin Keegan/Collins

The following is RTÉ broadcaster Ryan Tubridy’s opening statement to the Public Accounts Committee.

A Chathaoirligh, Deputies, Senators

First of all, I want to thank you for acceding to my request to come before you today.

I have always believed in the importance of public service, and I have great respect for the Oireachtas as an institution. I have come here voluntarily because I believe in the work that you are doing. I am here to assist in every way I can.

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I appreciate that you will have a lot of questions so I’m going to try to keep my opening statement as short as possible.

Given the events of the last three weeks, there is a lot that I wish and need to say, and I hope you will bear with me. My aim is to help correct and clarify some very serious matters and I will be relying on my agent Noel Kelly to go through the figures and provide greater detail.

I want everybody here today to understand that the figures and statements presented by RTÉ over the last few weeks in relation to my remuneration have created a fog of confusion over what I was paid and when I was paid, what I knew and when I knew. Full transparency and disclosure on RTÉ's part would have avoided this.

I am here to do one thing and one thing only: to set the record straight and to call out some untruths. There are 7 material untruths which I would like to address.

The first untruth is : The claim that I did not take a pay cut from RTÉ in 2020

This is not true.

I took a 20 per cent pay cut from RTÉ in my 2020-2025 contract. That’s it. I took a 20 per cent pay cut from RTÉ. I am obliged to do 205 Radio shows and 38 live 2-hour Late Late Shows under this contract.

I am an independent contractor. I get no pension or entitlements from RTÉ. Under the terms of my contract I am allowed to do additional work outside of RTÉ. I stress that there is nothing morally, ethically or legally wrong with me or any independent contractor doing additional work for another client outside of RTÉ.

But to be clear- I took a pay cut from RTÉ of 20% in 2020 for each of the five years of my contract, at a cost of €525,000 to me over the length of that contract.

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The second untruth is: The suggestion that my decision to retire from the Late Late Show was prompted by this whole debacle?

This is not true. I was not aware of any of this debacle when I decided to retire from the Late Late Show

I made my initial decision to leave The Late Late Show almost a year ago. Around this time, I mentioned it to those closest to me, my family and my agent. They were surprised, very surprised to say the least.

I explained to them that, among other things, I had left a lot on the studio floor after Covid. I was burnt out and exhausted – like so many people in the country. I turned it over in my mind over a few months, but by the time I got to January, I was absolutely certain of my decision. I was convinced that it was time to go.

There is ZERO connection between my departure and this very raw situation of recent weeks. I informed management on March 13th of this year. I first became aware of the Grant Thornton review in May – some two months later. Even then, I had no inkling of the bombshell which was to come when RTÉ released their statement on June 22nd.

The third untruth is: That I was covertly or secretly ‘overpaid’ by RTÉ

This is not true. I was not overpaid by RTÉ at any point. I fully accept I am very well-paid but I was paid fully in accordance with my contract, which my agent negotiated openly, honestly and in good faith.

There are no over-payments.

There are RTÉ's under-declarations – which we challenged them on back in 2020– and there are RTÉ's over-declarations of what they actually paid me in 2020 and 2021. This has caused justifiable anger among my colleagues. I understand their anger. The upshot of RTÉ's inaccurate declarations is an impression that I have been less than honest. This is not the case.

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The fourth untruth is: That I was aware that RTÉ were trying to conceal payments to me

This is not true. I was not aware that RTÉ were concealing payments to me. RTÉ acknowledge this in their statement of 27th June 2023 when they stated that Grant Thornton had made no findings against me.

The fifth untruth: That there was a secret agreement with Renault that I tried to conceal

This is not true. But not only that; it absolutely beggars belief. I had a separate commercial agreement with Renault – the basis of which was that I would make public appearances and perform roadshows for them. The work that I have done for Renault is all over social media. The suggestion that this was secret just makes no sense.

The sixth untruth: That RTÉ's underwriting of Renault’s payment obligations was a secret.

This is not true. RTÉ's underwriting of Renault’s payment obligations was NOT a secret. As the documents we have prepared for you today show, and as my agent will explain in more detail, RTÉ committed in February 2020 to provide this guarantee in the early stages of contract negotiations around my 2020-2025 contract. This is unequivocally confirmed in an email dated 20 February 2020 from Breda O’Keeffe to my agent. It was copied to other members of the executive board, the DG and RTÉ's solicitors’ office. Everyone in RTE who needed to know knew. (You’ll find this on page 10 of the booklet of documents provided to you this morning). Far from being secret, it was well known.

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Finally the 7th untruth: That I did not ask RTÉ about their under-declarations of my earnings when they released the 2017, 2018 and 2019 earnings on the one day, January 20th 2021

This is a question I did not ask at that time, and one I should have asked. I fully accept that.

Let me explain: at the end of my 2015-2020 contract, my agent advised me that I was entitled to a €120,000 payment, that has been variously called a loyalty, end-of contract or exit payment.

I did not invoice for that payment. I did not pursue the payment and I did not receive any payment. The documents provided to you today bear this out. In my simple view, I had foregone a €120,000 payment- not taken it. BUT because of how RTÉ reported that decision in their accounts, the narrative of the last 3 weeks has been that not only did I take this payment but that I somehow contrived to hide it. I reiterate; I actually waived my entitlement to this payment, and I didn’t receive one cent of it. I hid nothing. I had nothing to hide.

As the evidence provided to you today shows, my agent had already pointed out to RTÉ in 2020 that we thought the manner in which they were planning to account for my earnings in 2017, 2018 and 2019 was incorrect. We had understood that they accepted our position, so by the time they released the figures, I assumed that the CFO, the financial professionals in RTÉ and the external auditors who had audited the accounts in 2017, 2018 and 2019 had accountancy reasons for accounting for it the way they did.

I would like to add that my company earnings fully reflect what I earned in these and all subsequent years.

I am particularly upset and disappointed about the decision and framing of the RTÉ statement of 22nd June which inextricably linked my name to this whole fiasco. My name was mentioned 15 times in that statement, and I was not consulted once. I did not have the Grant Thornton Report which RTE had and which RTE acknowledge made no findings of wrongdoing on my part. I asked RTE to clarify that this was the case- they did....4 days later after much of the damage was done.

  • I signed a contract in good faith.
  • I declared my earnings and paid my taxes.
  • My employer has acknowledged that it has engaged in deceptive practices to pay me-practises that were hidden from me

The result?

- I become the face of a national scandal; accused of being complicit, deceitful and dishonest. I think that statement of June 22nd was very unhelpful in this regard.

The full TRUTH was concealed.

I take full responsibility for not asking more questions back on January 20th, 2021 when the figures for 2017, 2018 and 2019 were released. I take responsibility for that.

This has been my darkest hour both professionally and personally. I know the same is true for my agent and friend, Noel Kelly and his family.

As has become abundantly obvious in the last three weeks: this highlights the existence of 2 RTÉs. There are those who were involved in attempting to conceal payments and who were in a position to call me or my agent and ask for our help in establishing the full fact. Instead they chose to hurriedly issue a deeply damaging statement on June 22nd which failed to include the full facts.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for the great number of very decent hardworking people in RTÉ. I am very sorry for those whose lives have been made difficult with an incessant dripping of new revelations. I want to thank those colleagues who have supported me through these last few weeks.

In closing, I would like to thank the many people from across the country who have taken time to stop me on the street or send me cards or messages of support these past few weeks. I have always found the Irish people to be very fair, and I am hopeful that they will see from my statement and my appearance here today that I am determined to inform them of the truth and to demonstrate that I have nothing to hide.

I am also hopeful that I will soon get back on air to do the job I love. Thank you

RTE issued the following statement on Tuesday morning

RTÉ rejects the claim that an incorrect version of events was presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee and/or to the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts regarding RTÉ's agreement to underwrite payments of €75,000 per contract year due to Mr Tubridy.

For clarity, the claim relates specifically to an email that was sent by the former CFO of RTÉ to NK Management on 20 February 2020, which is being characterised as a contractual commitment on the part of RTÉ to underwrite the payments in question. RTÉ does not accept this characterisation. RTÉ's position is that the email of 20 February 2020 formed part of the discussions and engagement between it and NK Management in relation to the proposed new TV and radio contract with Mr Tubridy/Tuttle Productions and did not comprise a binding legal or contractual commitment on its part. RTÉ's position is as per previous statements: that, until the verbal commitment given by the former Director General during the call on 7 May 2020, it had not agreed to underwrite the €75,000 payment per contract year.

RTÉ does not accept this characterisation. RTÉ's position is that the email of 20 February 2020 formed part of the discussions and engagement between it and NK Management in relation to the proposed new TV and radio contract with Mr Tubridy/Tuttle Productions and did not comprise a binding legal or contractual commitment on its part. RTÉ's position is as per previous statements: that, until the verbal commitment given by the former Director General during the call on 7 May 2020, it had not agreed to underwrite the €75,000 payment per contract year.

RTÉ's position is as per previous statements: that, until the verbal commitment given by the former Director General during the call on 7 May 2020, it had not agreed to underwrite the €75,000 payment per contract year.”