RTÉ planning 200 job cuts and 15% pay reduction for top presenters

Major financial restructuring at national broadcaster to save €60m over three years

RTÉ is planning substantial job cuts and a 15 per cent pay reduction for its highest-earning presenters as part of a financial restructuring to save €60 million over three years.

About 200 job cuts are envisaged by senior figures in the organisation, and the “staff headcount reduction” is needed by the end of 2020.

The plan also envisages the closure of RTÉ’s Limerick studio next year. Lyric FM will not be closed, but it will no longer be based in Limerick. It will operate instead from Cork and Dublin and will be “much reduced” in size, say sources. RTÉ says it will continue to provide “a mid-west news service” in Limerick

An indefinite pay freeze will be introduced for all staff apart from senior management, who will take a 10 per cent pay cut. It is expected the role of all staff will be reviewed to ascertain if people can be better deployed. Staff benefits will be reviewed and work practices reformed.


Dee Forbes, the director general, will take a 10 per cent pay cut, along with the other members of the executive board and potentially other senior managers. Members of the RTÉ Authority will also waive their fees in future.


Recent accounts show Ms Forbes receives a salary of €250,000, a €25,000 car allowance and pension contributions of €63,000 – bringing her total remuneration package to €338,000. Salaries for the 10 highest-paid presenters amounted to €3 million in 2016.

Other cuts include the closure of Aertel and RTÉ’s digital radio stations including 2XM, Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr and Radio 1 Extra. All major sporting events will be moved to RTÉ One.

In a note to staff last night, Ms Forbes said briefings on the plan will be brought forward to today.

“We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfil our remit, without immediate reform of the TV licence system,” she said.

In a separate statement, Moya Doherty, the chair of the RTÉ board, said: “I would also like to point out, in the clearest possible terms, that the Board of RTÉ fully supports the executive of RTÉ as it sets out to implement what will be a challenging but necessary process of transformation. We are also mindful of the fact that this change will be painful for many members of staff.

“Media organisations are undergoing an unprecedented wave of disruption the world over. RTÉ is part of this global pattern. Radical change is unavoidable.”

There are 1,822 staff employed at RTÉ, 250 of whom are part-time.

Staff costs

The latest accounts show that staff costs amounted to €148.5 million, with a further €34.9 million being paid to contractors.

A voluntary redundancy programme that started in 2017 saw in the region of 160 staff leave, according to last year’s annual report. Commercial revenues fell from €245.5 million in 2007 to €150 million last year.

No further land sale at its Donnybrook base is envisaged in the short term, but sources did not rule it out in the longer term.

It is also understood that some high-profile members of staff may not have their contracts renewed when they expire.