RTÉ must deliver a “maximum level of transparency” in relation to how much it pays its stars like Ryan Tubridy and Ray D’Arcy, Communications Minister Denis Naughten has said.
Following the summer controversy over pay equality at the national broadcaster, Mr Naughten has demanded that RTÉ management be completely upfront and open about its pay policy.
Speaking yesterday as he announced the free to air designation for ladies Gaelic football and camogie at Croke Park, Mr Naughten also said he wanted RTÉ to deliver best value for money from the resources it gets from the taxpayer.
“I think it’s important that there’s the maximum level of transparency there in relation to the pay that the top presenters in RTÉ receive.
“Quite a lot of staff in RTÉ are on pretty regular salaries but some of the staff at RTÉ are on huge salaries and I think there needs to be a level of transparency in relation to that,” he said in response to questions from the Irish Examiner.
RTÉ is conducting a review of role and gender equality across the organisation following criticism of its salary structure and Mr Naughten says he wants the report published as soon as possible.
“Yes, well look as I said I want to see the maximum level of transparency as possible in relation to pay in RTÉ,” he said.
“I think that that report should be published as soon as possible. I think we have a lot of work to do in relation to pay equality right across the board not just in relation to the broadcasting area.”
Mr Naughten, who represents the Roscommon–Galway constituency, said any consideration for additional funding for the debt-laden broadcaster will be considered by the Cabinet in the context of the estimates.
“First of all I think we have to remember that the majority of funding in RTÉ now comes from the public through the TV licence. I’ll be working with my colleagues to see how we can provide the best possible resources to RTÉ within the constraints that we have but get the best possible value for those as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Naughten said the designation of the two female games as free to air was a significant development.
He said major games like the All-Ireland final should remain free to air, given their highly special role in Irish sporting culture.
“Absolutely, I believe that they are sacrosanct. It’s something that we’ve all grown up with. I think one of my abiding memories happens to be that goal at the Davitt Stand as it is now when Séamus Darby scored the goal against Kerry in 1982. I don’t think any of us will ever forget it. I will never forget it.
“I watched it on the television that day and it’s something that will remain with me forever,” he said.
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.