RTÉ set to clash with Ryan over his salary


RTÉ 2FM presenter Gerry Ryan has been accused by management of “acting the maggot” in refusing to sign up to a 10 per cent pay cut.

Eight of RTÉ’s top paid presenters have agreed to a pay cut of 10 per cent as a contribution to bridging the dramatic shortfall in the national broadcaster’s budget which is projected to reach €68 million this year.

To date, only Ryan and Ryan Tubridy have not agreed to the cut. Tubridy has said he is legally constrained from taking one, but has, instead, offered to make a substantial contribution to charity.

A senior RTÉ management source said the station was legally bound to honour Gerry Ryan’s four-year contract, but that he was morally bound to take a pay cut and “you can take it for granted” that he will put under pressure to do so in the coming weeks.

“Virtually everybody in here recognises it would be untenable to ask a researcher on €50,000 a year to take a pay cut and not ask somebody on €500,000 to take one too,” the source said. Ryan currently earns €558,000.

He added that Ryan’s stance was damaging his own reputation and that of RTÉ. “We are getting a lot of phone calls and e-mails from people who are fed up with the Gerry Ryans of this world. This is doing him no good.

“If you look at wiser people like Miriam O’Callaghan , they immediately saw they had to be where their colleagues are at.

“We build up people like Gerry Ryan to have enormous egos. They become their public personas. We built him up to be bombastic, loud-mouthed and opinionated because that’s what sells him to our listeners. What he is doing now is just acting the maggot,” he said.

On his radio show yesterday morning, Ryan read the headlines on the front pages of several tabloids which stated he was set for confrontation with RTÉ management.

He passed no comment other than to say it was “another compelling headline that you face coming into work on a Friday morning”.

Attempts to reach him yesterday evening were unsuccessful.

All of RTÉ’s 2,000 staff are now facing pay cuts because of the dramatic decline in advertising which amounts to the equivalent of 15 per cent of its entire revenue.

Director general Cathal Goan is due to come back to unions and staff in the next fortnight with proposals for a pay cut which are likely to hit those on the highest pay the hardest.

Former RTÉ presenter Vincent Browne said it was the fault of RTÉ management that stars were paid so much. Speaking on his TV3 Nightly News with Vincent Browne programme, Browne – who was an RTÉ radio presenter for 11 years until 2007 – said that if RTÉ management offered their stars €250,000 they would have nowhere else to go in the present economic climate.