Ministers get RTE salary details


Full details about the salaries of the top earners in RTE were given to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Ms de Valera, by the station's director-general, Mr Bob Collins, yesterday. However, the figures are known only to three Cabinet members.

Mr Collins, accompanied by the chairman of RTE, Mr Farrel Corcoran, gave information about the names and matching figures in a private briefing to the Minister before yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

But the information, sought by the Cabinet at the end of July, will be kept confidential, according to Government sources.

The Minister supplied the information to the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and the Tanaiste, Ms Harney, but it was not given to the full Cabinet.

Mr Ahern merely reported to his other colleagues that the Cabinet's request for information had been complied with.

Asked to explain the reason for seeking the information when it was not going to be made public, a spokesman said the Government thought it important to establish the principle that where it was responsible for taxpayers' money, a request for information from any State company about the earnings of its senior personnel should be complied with.

It is understood Gay Byrne is the top earner in RTE, but estimates of his salary varied from £400,000 to £500,000 after yesterday's meeting.

Marion Finucane, Gerry Ryan and Pat Kenny also feature on the top earners list. A source said last night that "only a handful" of RTE personnel earn more than £100,000.