RTE director general suspended amid furore over Ryan Tubridy salary

The director general of Irish broadcaster RTE has been suspended amid a controversy over the national broadcaster’s misreporting of the salary of star presenter Ryan Tubridy.

Dee Forbes, who was already due to step down from her role next month, was suspended on Wednesday, the RTE board announced on Friday.

The announcement came a day after RTE apologised after admitting Tubridy, its top earner and highest profile presenter, had been paid several hundred thousand euro more than it had previously declared.

The RTE board said that between 2017 and 2022, he received a series of payments totalling 345,000 euro above his annual published salary.

Former Late Late Show host Tubridy, who continues to present a daily radio show on RTE Radio One, has said he was surprised to learn of errors in the broadcaster’s public statement about payments it made to him.

He did not host his radio show on Friday morning, with comedian Oliver Callan stepping in.

In a further statement on Friday, the RTE board said: ‘The RTE board confirms that Dee Forbes, the director general was suspended from her employment on Wednesday June 21.

‘There are processes ongoing and RTE must be mindful of its legal responsibilities and the rights of individuals ‘RTE will not be commenting further on this issue at this time.’

Culture Minister Catherine Martin is due to hold talks with RTE board chair Siun Ni Raghallaigh on Monday to discuss the crisis rocking the broadcaster.

Ireland’s deputy premier Micheal Martin said the misreporting of Tubridy’s salary represented a serious ‘breach of trust’.

Speaking to reporters in Galway on Friday, Mr Martin said: ‘First of all, there’s huge shock and surprise at what has transpired in terms of the manner of this.

‘I think we need more clarification. I think, particularly in the area of transparency, this is a breach of trust in terms of the public presentation of the figures as opposed to the reality of the figures.

‘That is serious, particularly because I think it relates to governance within RTE and given its unique role as a public service broadcaster, clarity is required in all aspects of this.’

In a statement on Thursday, the board for the company revealed that the TV personality received a series of payments above his annual published salary, totalling €345,000 (£296,653).

RTÉ board chairwoman Siun Ni Raghallaigh said: ‘This is a matter of profound regret for the board of RTÉ. We are well aware that this is a serious breach of trust with the public.

‘On behalf of the board, I wish to apologise for what has occurred. It is clear that RTÉ has fallen short of the high standards that it sets for itself and are expected of it.

‘Once these issues came to light, we acted expeditiously to establish the facts and we are confident that the safeguards we have now put in place will ensure that nothing like this will happen again, and that good corporate governance is adhered to at all times.’

The amount that Tubridy was paid outside of his salary was not declared to the public or Ireland’s national parliament the Oireachtas, the broadcaster outlined.

Tubridy presented The Late Late Show and The Late Late Toy Show from 2009 to 2023, and currently hosts The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

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