As it happened: Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly issue blistering defence of pay arrangements at Oireachtas committees

Presenter and his agent disputed broadcaster’s account of payments during six hours of questioning at Oireachtas hearings


What we learned today

  • Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly came out with a forceful defence of their actions on Tuesday morning, saying the blame for the controversy over payments to the former Late Late Show host rests with RTÉ
  • Tubridy stresses there is no connection between ‘this fiasco and my departure from the Late Late Show’
  • Presenter and Kelly shone new light on €120,000 understatement of Tubridy’s earnings from 2017 to 2019
  • Tubridy said his name has been ‘sullied’ and when asked if his integrity had been damaged said while his ‘salary is enormous’ it ‘doesn’t affect my soul’
  • Read Tubridy’s opening statement to the Public Accounts Committee in full here

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A dossier of documents and two blistering opening statements from Ryan Tubridy and his agent, Noel Kelly, gave way to the first of two marathon sessions on the star’s pay. After yet another day of intense action at the Oireachtas committees, what have we learned?


Want to catch up on today’s developments quickly? Read this latest piece from Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee


Closing remarks from the two, it has to be said, emotional witnesses.

Noel Kelly: “The last two-and-a half weeks have been absolutely horrendous on family, on my children, on my business, on my name. We came here today to put everything we had into this. We have gone through everything, everything, everything.

“When the statement came out from RTÉ on June 22nd, we had to get our lawyers to ask them, ‘can you please inform us when you’re sending out stuff’, it’s David and Goliath stuff, it’s going out into a vacuum. We had half an hour’s notice, we asked could we see it.

“Here’s the interesting thing with being an agent. I’m the only person they have, I’m the shop steward. Who reached out to Ryan and his family? This isn’t a pity party. I believe in the house, that’s why we’ve gone here, thank you for giving us the opportunity.”

Ryan Tubridy: “It’s time to wrap, as they say. Of course it’s all change now and rightly so. If I do go back to RTÉ and I hope to, it will be in a whole new order.

“I’d love to be a part of the catharsis because it’s a great old place. If I were to sign a contract I’d put it out in the public straight away, I’d be part of the process to build trust.

“I hate being referred to as the talent. It’s an outdated term, the people in security, make-up, sound, production, that’s the talent. Please take that silly word off the contracts going forward.”


Leader of the Seanad, Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers has given her views on today’s proceedings.


Senator Timmy Dooley has asked Noel Kelly if he thinks it is plausible that Dee Forbes was the only person within RTÉ with knowledge of the arrangement she made with Mr Kelly.

“Not at all,” responded Kelly. “Any meeting that I ever had with Forbes, it was six or seven, was always with her chief financial officers or their people or her legal team or other parts of the legal team as well. She was never on her own.

“It would have to be discussed by two people.”


Labour Senator Marie Sherlock has asked Ryan Tubridy if his integrity has been damaged by this whole affair.

“I don’t think I’m a different person to the one who in the last 14 years promoted Vincent de Paul or told children not to bully each other or promote child literacy, all these things that matter to me and my fellow citizens,” he said. “Yes the salary is enormous, I understand that, but that doesn’t affect my soul.”


John Brady TD has asked Noel Kelly if he availed of any “trips abroad, golf events, wining dining, anything like that” at the expense of RTÉ.

“I don’t go out, I don’t do a lot,” responded Kelly. “I’ve never been entertained by RTÉ and it’s not something I’m interested in.”

When asked if he or his company extended any gifts to RTÉ, Kelly said “No, Christmas cards.”

The issue of Noel Kelly acting under RTÉ instruction when adding the label of consultancy fees to an invoice remains a contentious issue. John Brady has said that “ignorance is no defence. In hindsight, I’m asking you do you think you’ve done your job in issuing those invoices?”

“Hindsight’s an incredible thing but we are here today,” said Kelly. “In any time we act with total transparency, like I said that’s why we came today.”

Brady asked if Kelly was confident he issued the invoices “in accordance with the law.”

“Those were issued and in accordance with RTÉ's instructions and they are legal,” said Kelly.


The issue of who has responsibility for the incorrect invoices that paid Ryan Tubridy for consultancy fees remains to be an issue. Here’s Ciarán Cannon again:

“Six hours later, we’re no further along. The whole issue of the arrangement that was put in place at RTÉ, the deliberate falsifying of an invoice, those questions are now left hanging in the air. That to me is a sad reflection of the engagement we’ve had today.”

“I respect that but it’s a question for RTÉ,” said Mr Kelly.

“No it’s not,” said Mr Cannon.


TD Ciarán Cannon has taken issue with Noel Kelly’s repeated insistence that removing Ryan Tubridy’s name from an invoice for supposed consultancy fees was done at the instruction of RTÉ.

“I lost my dad a long, long time ago but there is one line I will never forget,” said Mr Cannon. “ ’If Johnny told you to put your hand in the fire would you put it in?’ It was a false invoice for services that were never provided. Did you consider the damage you would do to Ryan Tubridy?

“It wasn’t a false invoice, we invoiced Renault first of all and then, under instruction, the other company [Astus],” said Mr Kelly. “We were acting under the instruction.”


In a heated exchange, Fianna Fáil Senator Shane Cassells expressed his disbelief that Ryan Tubridy was not aware of the offer of a €75,000 sponsorship deal with Renault while Noel Kelly renegotiated his contract.

Using the analogy of a footballer and his agent, Mr Cassells said “don’t tell me they don’t know what’s being put in their contract. The man [Mr Kelly] isn’t not talking to you.”

Referencing an Irish Times article in which Fintan O’Toole labelled Mr Kelly as Mr Tubridy’s “attack dog”, Mr Cassells also asked Mr Tubridy why he did not “call off his dog. Was €440,000 not enough? Did you not say to Mr Kelly I don’t need the extra €75,000?”

“There was a stalling in the contract, this was the sweetener put in to get it over the line.”

“We’re not responsible for Fintan O’Toole’s commentary,” said Mr Kelly. Mr Tubridy kept to the football analogy, saying: “To use your own analogy, would a footballer expect a decent fee for playing for his club? With that in mind, this man negotiates my salary situation, my contract situation, he minds my business and he minds me too. He’s a good person.”

“It’s very simple,” said Mr Kelly of the €75,000 sponsorship agreement with Renault. “RTÉ came to us with this initiative. I can only assume they wanted to keep one of their biggest sponsors on board. Keeping Ryan Tubridy on board for five years equated with keeping a sponsor on board.

“It’s a matter for RTÉ.”



Mattie McGrath continues to press Noel Kelly on his repeated assertion that he acted under instruction from RTÉ when removing Ryan Tubridy’s name from invoices.

“Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” remarked McGrath.

“You have to trust, deputy, you have to trust,” responded Kelly. “It’s easy to know now.”

“You don’t in business take everybody at their word,” said McGrath at the conclusion of his questioning.


Mattie McGrath asked why Mr Kelly co-operated with RTÉ when making “false invoices” in relation to Mr Kelly’s claim that RTÉ instructed him to remove Mr Tubridy’s name off an invoice.

Mr Tubridy disputed that they were false invoices, with Mr Kelly saying that they were made under the instruction of RTÉ.

Mr McGrath responded by accusing Mr Kelly of “aiding and abetting in deception”.


An impassioned Tubridy responded to a question on where the money raised by The Late Late Toy Show went:

“That is my legacy even if I am given the royal order of the boot on Friday, I can walk out of those gates with my head held high. I will know year that in year one, the Irish people raised €6 million, year two €6 million, year three, €4 million, when times were hard. They have gone to 32 counties on this island, to children’s charities.”

Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy at a meeting of the Oireachtas media committee on Tuesday. Photograph: Oireachtas TV

The Cathaoirleach of the media committee Niamh Smyth had to intervene during a line of questioning from Senator Micheál Carrigy of Fianna Gael. The Senator asked Noel Kelly about his percentage of earnings from arrangements made on behalf of Ryan Tubridy.

“We came to talk about the issues at hand, that’s not one of the issues,” he said.

When pressed further, Mr Kelly held up a sheet of A4 paper, saying “These were the questions put to the committee by us and that’s what we’ve been working on. It’s not relevant.”

“I think it is, I think it’s completely relevant,” responded Mr Carrigy.

After taking a moment to take on advice, Ms Smyth advised that Mr Kelly did not have to answer the question as it was not included in the topics sent to Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly in advance of the meeting.

“That’s disappointing you wouldn’t answer that question,” said Mr Carrigy to Mr Kelly.

Ryan Tubridy's agent Noel Kelly at a meeting of the Oireachtas media committee on Tuesday. Photograph: Oireachtas TV


Half-time analysis from Jennifer Bray:

Both Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly appeared a little less wound-up in the second committee hearing, which could be partly due to tiredness as Mr Tubridy said earlier they had been “burning the midnight oil” to get ready for today.

The line of questioning from politicians has also been a little more rambling in the last hour, allowing both men more time to wax lyrical.

At one stage, Mr Tubridy started making unsolicited suggestions about how to make the best of a “cathartic week” by offering to publish his contract regularly if he keeps his job.

There has been a lot of focus, too, on the role of Noel Kelly and his influence inside RTÉ.

Kerry TD Brendan Griffin asked “would there be executives afraid of you?”

“Sure who would be afraid of me? All 5ft 6in of me. And look, over the last two weeks all sorts of pictures are painted, but I’m here to work on behalf of my client,” Mr Kelly said.

Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin asked what Mr Kelly’s role is in terms of influencing guest appearances on the Late Late Show.

“None, that’s editorial,” Noel Kelly said.

Just before the committee took a break at 4:30pm, Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne, who went to college with Ryan Tubridy, asked a salient question: do you believe in all of this that you have done anything wrong?

Mr Tubridy said he should have called out the figures around his earnings when they were released in 2021. “So yeah, I’m not without blame in that regard.”

But he also rounded on RTÉ for how they handled the release of the information around the auditor’s report nearly three weeks ago.

“We were given approximately 30 minutes warning from RTÉ to say this bomb is about to be let out. We looked at it and said, you can’t. You are putting out this information, so much of which we can counter and clarify for you. We said, this Grant Thornton report said Ryan Tubridy did nothing wrong. We said you’ve got to include that ... and they said no.”

What followed, Tubridy said, was a “mauling of sorts, for three weeks”.

The presenter has made clear that he wants to return to work. The question now is whether this will we possible given the very public issues that have emerged between him, his agent, and RTÉ.


In the last set of questions before a 10-minute break, Senator Malcolm Byrne asked Ryan Tubridy about the tone of the statements he released shortly after the news of the underreporting of his salary first broke.

“What happened was we were given 30 minutes warning from RTÉ that this bomb was about to be let off,” said Mr Tubridy. “We looked at it and said ‘you can’t, so much of this information we can counter and clarify for you.’

“This report, Grant Thornton, [which Mr Tubridy said cleared him of wrongdoing], we said ‘you’ve got to include that.’ They said ‘no, we’re releasing the statement.’

“Our statement, the first one, went out saying we can’t shed any light. That night was an all nighter, and that night we said ‘I want to apologise to people because I should have called that out.’

“There was a mauling of sorts for three weeks and that’s why we get to today where we put this document together to be transparent.”


Addressing the committee as a whole, Tubridy has offered to publish his RTÉ contract details on an annual basis.

“In the event that I do keep my job, and it’s touch and go from my understanding of it, I’m happy to suggest that in the future we have a situation where we publish my contract on an annual basis, with the money and salary there straight up.

“If RTÉ is having a cathartic week, let that be a part of it. I’m happy to offer that today.”


Senator Fintan Warfield is questioning Noel Kelly about the power he has when negotiating with RTÉ given the number of their presenters he represents.

Warfield asks “What happens if two of your clients are going for the same job?”

“The best one gets it,” said Kelly. “If you think about it, when Pat [Kenny] gave up the Late Late show, Gerry Ryan went for it, Ryan went for it, my assumption was they wanted someone to bring in a younger audience.

“At the end of the day it’s the executive board that decides who gets the job. It’s like any job, a number of people can interview. It was all about a younger demographic, they wanted to bring more younger people into RTÉ.”

Tubridy said he was 35 or 36 when he was appointed presenter of The Late Late Show.


Senator Fintan Warfield asked Noel Kelly what he thought when he was asked by RTÉ to not put Ryan Tubridy’s name on an invoice.

In response, Mr Kelly said: “It’s 100 years old, why would you question it?”


Brendan Griffin asked Noel Kelly how he sees his role in the future given the anticipated culture change in RTÉ in light of recent events.

“We work with Netflix, we work with streamers, all the new media out there,” said Mr Kelly.

“We work in the UK, in the US. I love finding young talent and getting them booked, getting them deals. That’s where I see myself.”


In response to a question from Brendan Griffin TD on how he is seen within RTÉ, Noel Kelly said “how would you be afraid of 5ft 6in me? In the last few weeks, all sorts of pictures have been painted.”

When pressed on a legal dispute around the show Operation Transformation, Mr Kelly said he had never threatened to sue RTÉ.

“We had come up with the idea [for Operation Transformation] for Gerry Ryan, an independent company tried to say it was their idea ... We settled with the production company.”

When asked for the figure of the settlement, Mr Kelly said it was “not relevant” and that a confidentiality agreement is in place.

Brendan Griffin asked when will the outstanding appearances under Ryan Tubridy’s agreement with Renault take place.

“When they are called upon,” responded Mr Tubridy. “If they’re not called upon, obviously money gets transferred back.”


Peter Fitzpatrick asked why Ryan Tubridy and Dee Forbes “jumped ship at the same time”. Tubridy responded by saying he is under contract at RTÉ until 2025, despite previously being in the midst of a renegotiation.

When asked if he was being paid for radio-only services, Tubridy said that was his understanding. Fitzpatrick asked “do you not know what you’re getting paid?”

“Deputy, it’s been a long three weeks,” responded Tubridy. “You know what I’m being paid. That’s why I’m here. I could be out of a job by Friday, or back in work on Monday.”


In response to a question from Peter Fitzpatrick on his motivation behind leaving the Late Late Show, Tubridy says, “I get the sense you choose not to believe my reasoning for leaving.”

“If you choose not to believe me, that’s a terrible pity because you live with a lack of truth then.”


In response to a question from Peter Fitzpatrick TD on members of the public seeing the Renault sponsorship as a ploy to avoid a pay cut, Mr Tubridy responded “I’m not a very smart man when it comes to these things, that’s why I pay a smart man to do it for me.

“I never set out to cause any confusion for anyone. I never underestimate the intelligence of the Irish people.”


Imelda Munster asked Noel Kelly why, for the sake of his own client, he did not “correct the record” when RTÉ published the wrong figures for Ryan Tubridy’s salary.

Mr Kelly said he had “10 or 15 minutes notice” before the announcement of the figures. “We asked for 48 hours notification, if we had notification we would have been able to say it was wrong.

“We informed RTÉ [of the misreporting] and tried to put it [greater notice before publication of figures] in as part of a contract. RTÉ are the ones who put the figure out, not us.”


Jennifer Bray’s latest analysis of the hearing

‘I could be out of a job by Friday’

It was always going to be hard for Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly to maintain the same levels of simmering rage which were so evidently on display during the Public Accounts Committee. So far, the heat has been mainly on Noel Kelly. The first two questioners, Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan and Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon, raised issues with the way in which the €75,000 were made and why they were labelled consultancy fees to be paid from a barter account. The same defence is being used as this morning.

“We were acting on instructions from RTÉ,” said Kelly.

In the last committee, Tubridy said he was appearing in order to rebuild trust. That is what it comes down to for both of these men, as both understand that how they come across will have ramifications both of their careers.

The presenter made this clear when he told the committee: “I could be out of a job by Friday.”

In both committees, Mr Tubridy consistently brings forensic questions back to how he feels. While most politicians seem to be accepting his bona fides here, it does give the hearings a theatrical air. Mr Tubridy said again that he has been in “a state”.

“When a feather leaves the pillow, it is hard to get that back.”

After nearly four hours of hearings, politicians seem to be mainly sceptical of why Noel Kelly did not see anything wrong with how the top-up payments were made to that barter account, with the description they were given. They also are sceptical about the underwriting by RTÉ of the commercial agreement, and have questioned why Noel Kelly’s agency did not see that this could ultimately leave the taxpayer liable.

So we know what the politicians think.

But what does the public think?


From our political reporter Jack Jorgan-Jones

Tubridy and Kelly and Imelda Munster PAC

Imelda Munster, also a member of the PAC, asks Tubridy if he can understand why people don’t see him as having taken a 20 per cent pay cut given his sponsorship agreement with Renault.

“I understand why that perception is out there,” responded Tubridy. “We have tried to explain the difference between being paid by RTÉ and Renault. In answer to your question, I can understand why there is confusion and why there is a perception issue but that is not right.”

Munster began asking another question about RTÉ underwriting a payment of €375,000, only for Tubridy to interrupt: “I say this really respectfully but this is why I’m in a terrible state at the moment. There has been so much misreporting of these figures, that figure you reported isn’t a real figure. It gets thrown at your head. When a feather leaves the pillow, it’s very hard to get that back. With my good name, the feather has left the pillow.”

Imelda Munster asks Tubridy if he accepts that RTÉ's decision to underwrite his sponsorship agreement with Renault using public money was the right thing to do.

“I’m not here to be critical of RTÉ,” said Tubridy. “I’ve been working there since I was 12 years old but I have to defend myself. It strikes me as being unorthodox.”


Christopher O’Sullivan TD of Fianna Fáil asked Ryan Tubridy if he still has faith in Noel Kelly after Kevin Bakhurst, during a radio interview yesterday, appeared to cast doubt on his willingness to negotiate with Mr Kelly in the future. Mr O’Sullivan said he interpreted Mr Bakhurst’s comments as “in all likelihood, it’s a no.”

In response, Mr Tubridy said “I can still work with Noel and negotiate an agreement with RTÉ. RTÉ is one element of what I do for a living.”

In relation to Mr Bakhurst’s comments, Mr Kelly said “It wasn’t a flat no but we’ll have to see.”

Christopher O’Sullivan says that in July 2020, Mr Tubridy received a letter from former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes which said that there would be no further requests for cuts to his fees.

“How does that sit with you, knowing colleagues around you were taking pay cuts left right and centre. But you have this, essentially, special treatment,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Mr Tubridy said a relevant figure would be the 40 per cent pay cut he took.


Given that they have already read their opening statements into the record in the PAC, these are being taken as read. The first questioner is Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan. He thanks them for appearing and says it is commendable.

“That said, the PAC session has posed further questions.”

He is focusing now on those €75,000 payments made as part of the Renault deal. It is put to Mr Kelly that he knew these payments were not for consultancy services, which was the description on the invoice, and Mr O’Sullivan contents the agent would have known this.

Tubridy’s agent reiterates he was following RTÉ directions. “It was something we were asked to do.”

Tubridy further defends his agent Kelly.

“He was doing his job and in the course of doing his job, he was given instructions and in the course of receiving those instructions, he carried them out.”

Mr Tubridy said he never would have discussed the finer details of issues like this, referring to details on invoices, with his agent.

In retrospect, however, Mr Tubridy said it is clear there is a lot of room for better practice.

“This is cathartic.”


Niamh Smyth has deemed it unnecessary for Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly to read their opening statements once again having already done so before the Public Accounts Committee.

“I don’t think it’s necessary because they’ve listened to.” Mr Tubridy said he was “happy to do it” again but the committee members said they heard the statements during this morning’s session.

The committee will move straight to questions from members.


Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly are back for round two, after taking a break of an hour following a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee. The committee will take its first break at 4:30pm. During the PAC meeting, Tubridy and Kelly mounted a fierce defence of their positions. It will be interesting to see whether they maintain the same levels of anger and dogmatic defence.

Media committee Cathaoirleach Niamh Smyth of Fianna Fáil starts things off by advising that the meeting “will not exceed the three hour shift”. She says she is mindful of Tubridy and Kelly having just come from another three hour meeting with the Public Accounts Committee.


Meanwhile, in what can only be described as coincidental timing, the BBC has released it’s list of top-10 earners. Gary Linker is unsurprisingly at the top, while BBC Northern Ireland’s Stephen Nolan is the fifth highest paid presenter. Here are the top five:

Gary Lineker – £1,354,999

Zoe Ball – £984,999

Alan Shearer – £449,999

Huw Edwards – £439,999

Stephen Nolan – £404,999


Video highlights from the first Oireachtas meeting of the day. First up, Ryan Tubridy tells the Public Accounts Committee what it has been like to experience the coverage surrounding the recent payments scandal.


Three-hour grilling finishes – followed by media committee meeting at 3pm

Brian Stanley, the Public Accounts Committee chair, wraps up the three-hour meeting and says he is mindful that Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly have further meetings at 2pm with the Oireachtas media committee.

Ryan Tubridy: “Before I go, can I just briefly say thank you to the committee for the courtesy which they have afforded us with their questions today.

“I’m sure there are more pressing issues in the world, but at the same time, that’s not to belittle what we were talking about today. Thank you for your time ... we respect the Oireachtas.”


‘There has been a humanity bypass’

Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor has asked why Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly supplied their lengthy opening statements just hours before the committee meeting began.

It is normal that opening statements to committees are provided a day in advance.

“It was unfortunate,” says Mr Tubridy. “It was a tortuous three weeks. There has been a humanity bypass ... we worked tirelessly to put this together. We got it in when we could.”

When asked, again, when he first knew of the Grant Thornton investigation into his contract, Mr Tubridy says it was June, while Noel Kelly clarified that his company was in touch with the accountants from May.

Mr Kelly adds they only received the Grant Thornton report four days after RTÉ issued a statement on the matter. At this stage, he said, Grant Thornton clarified there was no issue with Mr Kelly and Mr Tubridy.

“If they hadn’t rushed everything out, 99 per cent of this wouldn’t have been an issue,” adds Mr Tubridy.

Six Renault roadshows still ‘owed’

James O’Connor asks whether, given the state of the country during the Covid crisis, that it was wise to avail of a financial deal involving Renault.

“It’s a fair observation ... I should have been more inquisitive,” says Tubridy.

Kelly adds that the Renault deal was a contract for services which were delayed due to the Covid crisis.

“To be honest, by 2022, the services would have been provided ... and now six roadshows are owed.”

Mr Kelly and Mr Tubridy have more or less maintained the deal continued to be with Renault, even when payment came from Altus, which is the company for the RTÉ barter account.


‘I still see my future there’

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy tells Ryan Tubridy that it seems strange he wants to return to an organisation that he believes has “badly damaged” him.

Mr Tubridy says: “I’ve been badly damaged ... not necessarily by RTÉ as an institution ... there are people there who I’d dearly like to work with ... I still see my future there.”


‘We were deceived as well’

Harry McGee writes:

Paul McAuliffe (Fianna Fáil) said the crux of the problem was although it seemed Renault was paying Mr Tubridy for €75,000, it was also getting a reduction for its sponsorship fee of €75,000 for year one.

He asks Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly were they were aware of the “deception”.

“If that is the question we were deceived as well,” responds Mr Kelly. Both say they were not aware of the reduction in fees.

Mr McAuliffe is now turning to the invoices sent by Mr Kelly on behalf of Mr Tubridy for the second and third year of the agreement, each worth €75,000 to Mr Tubridy.

The invoice for year one was sent to Renault. However, under instruction from RTÉ, the invoices were sent to a company based in London, Altus, from which the RTÉ barter accounts were handled.

Mr Kelly has said he presumed it was to Renault. However, Mr McAuliffe points out that Mr Kelly’s company had one previous dealing with Astus for a charity lunch.

Mr McAuliffe also points out the lack of details in the second invoice, the lack of a name, and the reference to “consultancy fees”.

In addition, the invoice was sent by a separate company in the Kelly group, CMS marketing.

Pay cut claim has ‘no credibility whatsoever’

Labour Party TD Alan Kelly has disputed the assertion by Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly that the presenter took a 20 per cent drop in salary.

He said it is not accurate and has “no credibility whatsoever”.

Mr Tubridy defends his position in follow-up questions with Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and says he was “very surprised” to see the way RTÉ had described his salary, despite earlier communications on the matter.


Analysis: ‘We were just following instructions’

Jack Horgan-Jones writes:

Very strong, methodical work from Mayo TD Alan Dillon, who drilled down into whether Mr Kelly and Mr Tubridy accept any responsibility over the controversy.

Mr Kelly asserted he had not acted recklessly and instead they just followed process.

When asked directly by Mr Dillon if, in co-operating with instructions, he colluded with a falsehood or a concealment, Mr Kelly parried, saying: “we had no benefit in seeking to suppress”, claiming again and again that “we were just following process”.

“The lack of credibility is on RTÉ's side,” he added.

Mr Kelly was backed by Mr Tubridy in a tense exchange, with the presenter saying: “I believe the person sitting to my left” and that he believes Mr Kelly didn’t collude with RTÉ to conceal payments.


‘I was just following process and working on instructions from RTÉ’

Asked by Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon if his actions were reckless in dealing with RTÉ, Mr Kelly says: “I was just following process and working on instructions from RTÉ.”

Asked if he puts all the blame on RTÉ in relation to the crisis and the mistakes,” he says: “Yes”.

Mr Kelly has also told Mr Dillon that he and Mr Tubridy had actively wanted to come into to the committee to explain their side as it was “so hard looking at so many untruths”.

Pressed by Mr Dillon on his assertion of following instructions, he denies did he collude with RTÉ in a deception in describing invoices as “consultancy fees” and concealing payments.

Mr Dillon asks does Mr Kelly accept the lack of credibility in dealing with a company you have never heard of in another country and raising an invoice for “consultancy fees”. Mr Kelly adheres to the line that he followed RTÉ instructions and says his company is a small one.

Mr Kelly now says the company used by RTÉ to make the second and third payments to Mr Tubridy for 2022 and 2023 totalling €150,000 (after Renault withdrew from the deal after year one) he assumed initially to be Renault.

Mr Kelly argues that Mr Tubridy’s base salary dropped by €105,000 annually and that he also wrote off an exit payment of €120,000 from his previous contract.


‘There have been a lot of lies, intentional or not, I don’t know’

Independent TD Verona Murphy has asked whether there was a close relationship between Noel Kelly and former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes, as had been suggested during previous Oireachtas hearings.

Mr Kelly says: “I’ve never even had a cup of tea with her ... I only met her with solicitors ... there have been so many untruths, I’ve had to stop listening ...”

Ms Murphy asked whether Mr Kelly believes RTÉ “lied” to the Oireachtas committee during previous hearings. Mr Kelly says: “There have been a lot of lies, intentional or not, I don’t know.”

Mr Tubridy is more diplomatic and simply says he hopes the public “will get some clarity today”.

Noel Kelly


‘There is no connection between this fiasco and my departure from The Late Late Show’

Independent TD Verona Murphy has, again, asked if there was a connection between Ryan Tubridy’s departure as Late Late Show host and looming financial disclosures.

“There is no connection between this fiasco and my departure from The Late Late Show,” says Mr Tubridy.

When asked if he was “thrown under the bus” by the interim director general of RTÉ – who suggested he might have known in advance of making his decision – he is diplomatic.

“I would hope ... it is a misunderstanding rather than an intent to deceive,” Mr Tubridy says.


Analysis: Discussion of ‘consultancy fees’ is a key moment in proceedings

Jack Horgan Jones writes:

Both Mr Kelly and Mr Tubridy were extremely strong on the impact this crisis has had on them, with the presenter emphasising that his name has been “sullied”.

He said he is “not looking for sympathy or a violin”, while Mr Kelly said there has been “such horrendous, horrendous reporting” on the topic leading to Mr Tubridy being thrown under the bus.

Mr Kelly also emphasised that they sought to have changes made to RTÉ's statement of the 22nd of June that were not made.

In essence, everything the two men are arguing frames them as being on the receiving end of events.

Mr Tubridy is now much more of a participant in the session than he was in the opening minutes, as Mr Kelly takes the lead in discussing the details.

The two men clearly have a rapport, with Mr Tubridy even jokingly chiding Mr Kelly for interrupting a questioner.

A key moment in those exchanges came, however, when Mr Kelly told Sinn Féin’s John Brady that it was Geraldine O’Leary, the former RTÉ head of commercial, who said the invoices should be made out as “consultancy fees” – which they weren’t.

Ms O’Leary has previously said she could not remember who first suggested this, but that it may well have been a conversation “with me and the director general”.


‘This was a very personal decision’

Sinn Féin’s John Brady TD asks Ryan Tubridy if his resignation as host of The Late Late Show was linked to looming disclosures over his pay.

“I will be here until the last dog barks until you believe me that that decision came from my heart and soul. The kernel of that decision is [from] last August ... this was a very personal decision,” Mr Tubridy says.

When asked when he learned about a probe into the payments, he said he didn’t hear about it “until May”.


‘My relationship with the children of Ireland is so important to me’

Cormac Devlin (Fianna Fáil) haș asked Mr Tubridy about the impact of the events on him.

In an emotional response, Mr Tubridy says: “My name has been desperately sullied. I think my reputation has been sullied. I’m deeply upset. I’m hurt. it’s hard to leave the house if you really, really wanted to be honest about it. My relationship with the children of Ireland is so important to me.

“You know, that sounds grandiose. But actually it is one thing to be happy and hopeful and proud to be Irish and read lots of books and just (deal with) wonderful young people.”


Analysis: ‘We were directed by RTÉ'

Jack Horgan Jones writes:

The Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, was told that Tubridy has assembled a team around him to advise him during the crisis and that he presumes they’re being paid; a blue chip PR firm in Dublin (Gordon MRM) issued his statement, and its managing director, who has advised entities that have extensive dealings with the Oireachtas such as Nama, is in the room today.

Interestingly, Noel Kelly pushed back firmly against the suggestion that he knew Dee Forbes, saying he never has met her for lunch or tea or dinner, and doesn’t have her mobile number.

The thread this is relevant to is when Tubridy knew the invoices were being investigated with previous sessions giving rise to the suggestion that he could have known before he stepped down from the Late Late Show.

He and Kelly are adamant it did not have a bearing, and that they only found out in May.

Kelly again stuck tightly to the argument that the fees for Renault had nothing to do with the drop in fees for RTÉ, while Tubridy conceded that he “understand(s) the room for perception issues”.

Asked again about the unclear nature of the invoicing arrangement, Kelly sticks firmly to his line: “We were directed by RTÉ”.


Analysis: Tubridy defence is that he was acting on RTÉ's instruction

Jack Horgan-Jones writes:

Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster honed in on the relationship between Tubridy’s diminishing fees from RTÉ, the tripartite agreement and payments from Renault (ultimately underwritten by the broadcaster) – questioning whether the deal was to offset the fee coming down.

Kelly, who has been very much to the fore today in defending and characterising the negotiations with RTÉ, was adamant that the deal with Renault was not to offset a cut in Tubridy’s fee.

Tubridy’s defence is essentially that the arrangements move in parallel, and that when unusual elements emerged – such as the suggestion not to put a name on the invoice – they were acting on RTÉ's instruction.

‘The last few weeks have been chaotic. They have been disruptive. They have been beyond difficult’

Marc Ó Cathasaigh of the Green Party is now asking questions. He asks did Mr Tubridy get advice from a crisis-communications team.

Mr Tubridy said he did get support from a team, including crisis communications. Asked by Mr Ó Cathasaigh if this advice was to give documents late, Mr Tubridy says it was not.

“The last few weeks have been chaotic. They have been disruptive. They have been beyond difficult. And all I say to you is that we wanted to get things right today. Because so many people have been getting things wrong,” Mr Tubridy says by way of explanation for the documents arriving late.

Mr Ó Cathasaigh has challenged the claim made by Mr Tubridy that he took a 20 per cent pay cut. Mr Kelly explains that the 20 per cent cut was compared to his salary between 2015 and 2020. He said that after 2020 Mr Tubridy’s annual salary was €420,000 compared to an average of over €500,000.

However, he admits that the €75,000 income from the tripartite deal with Renaults was treated separately from that and was not calculated as part of the 20 per cent cut. “The Renault €75,000 was a completely separate contract,” he has said.

Mr Ó Cathasaigh has asked Mr Tubridy that it is difficult to reconcile the idea that the Renault payment is a completely separate arrangement when it formed part of the contract.

Mr Tubridy’s response: “I understand where you’re coming from entirely but I understand the room for perception issues, yes.”

Mr Tubridy said the purpose of today would be to rebuild the trust that “might have been undermined by a lot of misunderstanding”.


Tubridy questioned on pledge to ‘graciously’ accept a pay cut at St Vincent de Paul event

Imelda Munster TD has questioned Ryan Tubridy about an interview he gave in 2019 around a St Vincent de Paul appeal in which he said he would “graciously” accept a pay cut as he was haunted by child poverty.

She asks how this tallies with Mr Ryan getting an additional payment of €75,000 in the tripartite agreement with Renault. Ryan Tubridy says that Ms Munster should not conflate somebody who is well paid with somebody who has a conscience.

She accepts Mr Tubridy has done a lot of work for charity but again argues that RTÉ essentially underwrote all these payments.

Mr Kelly argues the agreement with Renault was completely separate to the pay issue and should be treated separately to his pay.

Mr Tubridy says that his understanding was that the additional payments were made by Renault. He has constantly deferred to Mr Kelly in terms of details.


Analysis: ‘Tubridy and RTÉ are further apart than ever’

Jack Horgan Jones writes:

There is a bit of Atticus Finch in the courtroom to Tubridy’s opening statement here – delivered with a performer’s panache, right down to a thank you to An Post workers for delivering the letters of support (a foot-high stack, apparently).

Both Tubridy and Kelly hit their markers, with Tubridy even pounding the table for emphasis at one point. However, performance aside, it remains to be seen if the audience buys it. One Government source texts a verdict midway through: OTT on the drama.

The key thing is that Tubridy and RTÉ are farther apart than ever.

The presenter and his agent have driven straight for key aspects of RTÉ's version, including the underwriting of the deal and the accuracy of figures it has put into the public domain.

They are claiming serious damage done to them by how the broadcaster has handled matters. It is a striking intervention, and the fallout will surely be significant.


Focus on extra €75,000 sought during the Covid pandemic

Asked by committee chairman Brian Stanley about him seeking €75,000 extra during the Covid pandemic and If he had doubts about merits of it, Mr Tubridy said he had no doubts about it and trusted the process and the work of the agent Noel Kelly.

Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster is now asking questions about the tripartite deal between RTÉ, Mr Tubridy and Renault. She is asking who in RTÉ initiated it. Noel Kelly says he did not initiate it in any way whatsoever. “RTÉ wanted Ryan and Renault wanted Ryan to go with the dealers.”

He said Renault’s relationship was with RTÉ and had nothing to do with him. He said the actual payment had nothing to do with Mr Tubridy.

Mr Kelly is now dealing with questions about the €75,000 guarantee that RTÉ would pay if the sponsor did not continue with paying.

He said the reason for putting that in was if the sponsor was changed. Ms Munster is asking why he requested the deal to be underwritten by RTÉ and she said that means the public purse, that RTÉ has “to take the hit for it and pony up”.

Now he is being asked about the terms of the invoice put in by Noel Kelly’s company for “consultancy fees” for the €75,000.

He explains by saying the request was made by RTÉ which is a “100-year old company”. Mr Kelly responds that he trusted the process and acted under instructions from RTÉ. Ms Munster argues he should not have gone along with that.

Mr Kelly says he was informed by RTÉ’s legal office on May 26 that the auditor Grant Thornton was examining these transactions in relation to the invoices for €75,000.

He said he told Mr Tubridy about it at the time.


Analysis: Documents shed new light on the €120,000 understatement of Ryan Tubridy’s earnings

Cliff Taylor writes:

New light is shone on the €120,000 understatement of Ryan Tubridy’s earnings from 2017 to 2019 by documents and commentary published this morning by his agent Noel Kelly. The amounts contained for Tubridy in the list of high earners, published in January 2021, were understated by €20,000 in 2017 and by €50,000 in each of the subsequent two years.

Kelly’s documents indicate that this issue was raised in negotiations on Tubridy’s new contract, due to run from 2020, and confirm that it was linked to an agreement that Tubridy would not receive a bonus of €120,000 which had been due to be paid at the end of the previous 2015 to 2019 contract.

Correspondence published this morning showed RTÉ proposed to “set off” this €120,000 savings from not paying the bonus against Tubridy’s earnings in the earlier three years. It does not give any rationale for doing this.

The reason for not paying the €120,000 bonus was that Tubridy did not undertake additional duties – including a series of eight TV programmes – which had been put in as potential extras in the earlier contract, but never happened.

In an exchange of emails between Kelly’s company and RTÉ in early 2020 – discussing the terms of the agreement on ending the old contact – Kelly’s side struck out the RTÉ proposal on this issue. This proposal was to “set off” this €120,000 “against the original contracted service set out in the settlement but not sought by RTÉ or provided by the presenter during the contract term”.

This wording did not appear in the final agreement, and Kelly says he believed he had done what he could to highlight the issue.

However, RTÉ proceeded to “set off” the money” when the figures were published, which had the impact of reducing the reported payments to Tubridy to less than what he actually received for the three years.

The question now is on what basis they did this, as it had the effect of misleading the public about what the presenter earned from 2017 to 2019. Grant Thornton forensic accountants are looking at his decision and are due to report on it to the RTÉ board.

Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly at PAC Tuesday, July 11th

‘This is not the Ryan Tubridy scandal – it is the RTÉ scandal’

Harry McGee writes:

Ryan Tubridy’s agent Noel Kelly is now speaking. He sets out the details of Ryan Tubridy’s contract for the five years from 2015. He says he received €495,000 for the first two years and €545,000 for the last three years up to 2020. Now it turns to the complex issue of an exit fee of €120,000 which was included in the contract but was written off when the new contract was agreed, as some of the ‘extra’ work included in the contract

Noel Kelly has said that the idea for a €75,000 annual contract with a commercial company for Ryan Tubridy came from RTÉ and not from his company or from Ryan Tubridy.

He now contests the contention that the €75,000 deal with Renault was secret. “It was not a secret. There was no secret,” he says.

To counter the contention that only Dee Forbes was the driving force behind the Renault contract, he refers to an email written by Breda O’Neill then director of finance, in February 2020 in which she states a fee from a commercial agreement of €75,000 per year to cover three Late Late Show style appearance.

In response to Mr Kelly’s request of a side letter from RTÉ to guarantee the fee for the duration of the contract (should Renault pull out), the email from RTÉ states that: “A letter of guarantee from the Director General will be provided that there will be no further cuts to the new contract.”

Mr Kelly has told the committee: “We trusted RTÉ. It's not a start-up with opaque funding and a chequered past or a record for dodgy financial dealings. It’s a national institution 100 years old, with a massive business turnover of over €350,000.”

Mr Kelly now concludes his statement saying Mr Tubridy has raised €100 million for RTÉ over six years. “Ryan and I have attracted, an our families an friends, a horrendous amount of criticism an abuse in the past few weeks and I would not wish it on anybody. The only figure in the story whose face was recognisable was Ryan Tubridy. He was made the poster boy for this scandal and this was not acceptable. This is not the Ryan Tubridy scandal. This is an RTÉ scandal.”


Emotional, angry and emphatic: Tubridy’s appearance before Oireachtas committee

Harry McGee writes:

Ryan Tubridy is barely concealing his anger in responding to the charges made against him and is robustly defending his position.

He now hones his focus on RTÉ accusing it of being engaged “in deceptive practices”. His only admission is his failure to raise the under-declaration of his earnings in 2021. “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.”

Elsewhere, Tubridy says he has nearly a foot-off-the-ground-high of cards that he has got from members of the public. He finishes by saying he would like to be back on air “doing the job I love”.

He is scathing in his criticism of RTÉ:” 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 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.”


‘I have nothing to hide ... I am hopeful I will soon be back on air’

Harry McGee writes:

Ryan Tubridy has begun to go through the seven “untruths” that he has said have arisen in public discourse. The first is that he did not take a pay cut from RTÉ.

He says: “I took a 20% pay cut from RTÉ in my 2020-2025 contract. That’s it. I took a 20% 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 per cent 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.”

There is a clear emotional strain in Ryan Tubridy’s voice. He goes through the second “untruth” now, saying his decision to leave The Late Late Show was not prompted by what he describes as “this debacle” but that he took the decision over a year ago, after feeling “burnt out and exhausted” by Covid.

He says: “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.”

Ryan Tubridy quickly cycles through the third, fourth, fifth and sixth untruths. They all deal with claims that the payments were secretive or his contract with Renault were secretive or that people did not know of the nature of the contract.

Now he moves to the seventh “untruth” that he did not ask RTÉ about their under-declaration of his earnings. In the next sentence he accepts: “This is a question I did not ask at that time, and one I should have asked. I fully accept that.”

However, he then goes on to explain it by saying that it had to do with the cancelling of a €120,000 exit fee due to him.”


Tubridy appears in-person before Oireachtas committee

Ryan Tubridy, his agent Noel Kelly have taken their places at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee. The chairman of the committee, Brian Stanley TD, is informing them about defamation rules and the matters to be discussed during the committee.

He has welcomed their appearance on a “voluntary” basis, but noted that written submissions have arrived late and that Mr Tubridy’s solicitor Joe O’Malley is present but not permitted to contribute to the discussion.


Politicians on the Oireachtas public accounts committee (PAC) are now meeting in a private session, before the public hearing begins around 11am. You will be able to follow the committee meeting on a live-stream we will have at the top of this live story when it begins shortly.


In his statement, Tubridy has said that the past three weeks had led to his “darkest hour both professionally and personally”.

In a scathing summation of RTÉ, he said: “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 ... The full TRUTH was concealed”.


RTÉ statement

RTÉ has released a statement disputing Kelly and Tubridy’s interpretation of that key February 2020 email, which they had claimed clearly showed RTÉ had agreed to underwrite the €75,000 payments deal from Renault, and that the agreement was well know. Here is the statement in full:

“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.”


Ryan Tubridy Statement

Political Correspondent Harry McGee reports on Ryan Tubridy’s opening statement, where he hits back at what he claims have been seven “untruths”. You can read Ryan Tubridy’s statement in full at this link

Mr Tubridy has rounded on RTÉ in a robust statement in which he denies he was aware that the broadcaster was trying to conceal payments made to him, and also disputes any suggestions he was involved in anything that was secretive.

He accuses the broadcaster of failing to disclose the full facts about his payment arrangements and also issuing a statement that was “deeply damaging” to him on June 22nd.

He is highly critical of the manner in which RTÉ has presented details about his salary and arrangements in its interactions with Oireachtas committees.

“As has become abundantly obvious in the last three weeks, this highlights the existence of two 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 facts.

“Instead they chose to hurriedly issue a deeply damaging statement on June 22nd which failed to include the full facts,” he has stated.

He maintains none of the payments made to him were secret, and he also argues the deal made between RTÉ and Renault for €75,000 was also not a secret.

Mr Tubridy has also disputed the claim that he did not ask RTÉ about its under-declaration of his income. He said his company earnings fully reflected what he earned in those and all subsequent years.

Mr Tubridy disputes, firstly, that he did not take a pay cut from RTÉ in 2020. “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.

“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.

He also said it is an untruth that his decision to quit The Late Late Show was triggered by what he describes as the “debacle”.

“The third untruth is that I was covertly or secretly overpaid by RTÉ. I was not overpaid by RTÉ at any point. I fully accept that I am very well paid but I was paid fully in accordance with my contract.”


In another point Kelly disputes with RTÉ, he states that revised figures from the broadcaster last month at the outset of the controversy, where they restated how much they paid Tubridy, are incorrect.

“Bizarrely, the figures they declare for both 2020 and 2021 are wrong. In both years they overstate the amount they paid Ryan,” his opening statement said. Kelly claims RTÉ's revised figures overstated its payments to Tubridy by €62,536 in 2020 and €83,381 in 2021.


In the email in question, provided to committee members, Breda O’Keeffe, then RTÉ chief financial officer, wrote to Noel Kelly following a meeting about Tubridy’s contract negotiations.

Discussing the €75,000 a year deal with Renault, Mr Kelly had stated “we would also need a side letter agreement from RTÉ to guarantee and underwrite this fee for the duration of this contract and beyond.”

In response, it appears Ms O’Keeffe stated: “We made good progress on what the commercial agreement would be ... and we can provide you with a side letter to underwrite this fee for the duration of the contract.”

The email was copied to then-director general Dee Forbes and director of content Jim Jennings.


In his opening statement, Tubridy also maintains the terms of RTÉ underwriting his side deal with Renault, which left the broadcaster paying him an extra €150,000, was “NOT a secret”.

The former Late Late Show host will state RTÉ committed to guarantee the payments “in the early stages of contract negotiations”.

“This is unequivocally confirmed in an email dated 20 February 2020 from Breda O’Keeffe to my agent,” he will tell the committee. “Everyone in RTÉ who needed to know knew ... Far from being secret, it was well known,” he will say.


Ryan Tubridy has denied he was aware at any time that RTÉ had concealed payments to him, in his opening statement to the Oireachtas committees:

“The third untruth is that I was covertly or secretly overpaid by RTÉ. I was not overpaid by RTÉ at any point. I fully accept that I am very well paid but I was paid fully in accordance with my contract.

“There are RTÉ's under declarations which we challenged them on back in 2020 and 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.

“The fourth untruth is that [I] was aware that RTÉ were trying to conceal payments to me. That is not true. I was not aware that RTÉ were concealing payments to me. RTÉ acknowledge this in they statement of 27th June 2023 when they stated that Grant Thornton had made no findings against me.”


Kelly will state he first saw signs in March 2020 that RTÉ “might be struggling to understand the correct accounting treatment for what they paid Ryan in 2017, 2018, and 2019″.

The high-powered agent will lay the blame at the feet of RTÉ, with his opening statement stating the fact the broadcaster published incorrect figures on Tubridy’s pay had caused “huge reputation damage to Ryan”.

On who knew about RTÉ underwriting the €75,000 payments from Renault to Tubridy, Kelly will state this information “was widely known within the executive board of RTÉ”. This is likely to be significant at the committee hearing later, given RTÉ previously said only a very small circle appeared to have knowledge of the full terms of this side top-up payments deal.

“Ryan and I have attracted a horrendous amount of criticism and abuse in the past few weeks because he is such a high profile and successful figure in Ireland, and he has been made the poster boy for this scandal. That is undeserved,” Kelly’s opening statement adds.


Noel Kelly is to describe the overpayments controversy surrounding his client Ryan Tubridy, where he was paid significantly higher than publicly disclosed by RTÉ, as an “accident waiting to happen”.

“This issue has caused a lot of distress, It’s entirely a mess of RTÉ's own making,” he will tell the committees.


An opening statement and a 41-page dossier of supporting documents from Noel Kelly has just being sent to politicians on the public accounts committee, we will have the best details of them here shortly


Elsewhere in those documents from RTÉ mentioned earlier, there is more granular detail about the cost to the broadcaster from several events run by Late Late Show sponsor Renault attended by Tubridy. These were part of the now-infamous deal that saw him earn an extra €75,000 a year, which was underwritten and later paid by RTÉ in subsequent years.

RTÉ has disclosed that in fact the total cost of the three events to the broadcaster was around €70,000, between the cost of the events at €47,477 (when paid through the barter account) and €22,000 spent to build the sets.


In a move likely to keep the internal pressure on inside Montrose, RTÉ staff in the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have said they are to hold a further rally at 1pm tomorrow, to express “their anger and upset and the urgent need for transparency and cultural change at RTÉ for the public and for staff”.


There’s only one story dominating the front pages today. The Star runs with Pac, Sac & Craic, while the Mirror opts for It’s the Late Late Showdown.


In another interesting document, former director general Dee Forbes wrote to Tubridy in March 2020 outlining that RTÉ would commit “to engaging with you or your agent in relation to the production of an annual Late Late Show live event and a fair and equitable distribution of the revenue and net profits therefrom”.

It is unclear if this annual Late Late Show live event refers to the ill-fated Toy Show the Musical, which was in the works at the time inside the national broadcaster. In the end Tubridy had no role in the musical’s production nor its promotion, and the venture ended up losing more than €2 million.


Separate to today’s hearings, RTÉ have sent a batch of documents to follow up on queries raised by politicians in recent committee sessions. Here’s some of the interesting details from those:

RTÉ refused to disclose who were the clients it brought on a trip to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, which cost more than €111,000 paid through the now controversial barter account, as only four guests were on the trip.

The exact cost of bringing clients to a U2 concert in Croke Park in 2017 was €10,184, which covered approximately 40 people for tickets, food, drink and transport.

Another event paid through the barter account in the K Club golf course cost €26,012, between green fees, food and drink, and some merchandise.

Other transactions revealed in the barter account in the documents include €13,730 spent on an Ed Sheeran concert in Croke Park, €3,493 spent attending the Eurovision in Stockholm in 2016, and €20,902 on a client summer party.

The documents also show Noel Kelly is credited in RTÉ with having the initial idea for what became the TV programme Operation Transformation. The credit states the programme grew out of an “initial radio concept created by Noel Kelly”, in reference to an earlier iteration of the idea that featured on Gerry Ryan’s radio show.


While Tubridy and Kelly will first be up before the public accounts committee around 11am, they will then later face questioning from the Oireachtas media committee at around 3pm.

Opening statements, which are usually shared with committee members the evening before a hearing, are not expected to arrive from the pair until about 8.30am this morning.


Good morning, Jack Power here, reporter with The Irish Times. We’ll be bringing you all the news and details from the blockbuster Oireachtas committee hearings featuring Tubridy and his agent Noel Kelly today.

The pair will be first up in front of the public accounts committee at around 11am, expect fireworks.