'Something has to give' – TV presenter Des Cahill says RTÉ employees 'have to be practical' about pay cuts

TV presenter Des Cahill has said that RTE’s employees “have to be practical and try to help” when it comes to the current financial crisis.

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes last week unveiled a raft of measures including 200 proposed job cuts, cutting the top earners’ pay by 15pc and implementing salary freezes and other cost-cutting measure. 

One of its best-known sports presenters, Mr Cahill said people just have to deal with the ongoing crisis as best they can, with a deficit last year of €13m.

“You have to be realistic to the situation as it is and something has to give. If there’s only x amount coming in and it’s costing RTE xx amount to run, something has to give,” he told independent.ie.

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“Negotiations are starting and we’ll see how that all goes. The management have said they’re going to be negotiating with the unions so let’s see how that all pans out.”

He said that Ms Forbes and members of the Executive Board have an unenviable task when it come to trying to sort out the current fiscal mess. 

“There’s a lot of concern and a lot to be done. It’s very tough for the management at the moment, having to deal with it all. It’s very stressful for them and obviously, job losses anywhere is a huge issue,” he said. 

“It’s tough trying to manage it because the whole media industry has changed and there is less money being spent in traditional media so that presents a problem for RTE, if there’s less money coming in.

“But it’s not unique to RTE. lt’s across newspapers and other media too.”

He added: “People have to be practical about it and try and help. I saw the point made that a lot of young people starting off now it’s very tough for them and they don’t live near RTE and they never will. They have childcare costs etc. People have different challenges and different problems but we all have to be realistic as well about the world we live in.”

He was speaking at an event in Dublin’s Merrion Hotel this afternoon, which saw Skoda Ireland unveiling a new age diversity initiative called Simply Older, Still Clever. 

He was joined by media personality Francis Brennan, agency owner Celia Holman Lee and veteran social-media influencer Eileen Smith. 

The new campaign wants to promote the idea of people working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 and although he’s years off the milestone age, Des is showing no signs of slowing down.

He said that his age was once wrongly reported as 65 but he’s only 59. 

“David McCullagh did that on Prime Time, mischeviously. It was in Wikipedia and then when I was on Dancing with the Stars, every paper went with the Wikipedia entry. I’m 59.

“I’m contract so I don’t have to go at 65 but I don’t get a pension either.”

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