'Significant cuts' | 

Ex-RTÉ boss defends Ryan Tubridy’s €440k salary

Willie O'Reilly, former Group Commercial Director at RTÉ, was speaking after the national broadcaster released its list of highest paid stars.

Ryan Tubridy is RTÉ's top earner

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A former RTÉ employee has said that there have been “significant” slashes in salaries at the station over the past decade.

Willie O'Reilly, former Group Commercial Director at RTÉ, was speaking after the national broadcaster released its list of highest paid stars.

The top 10 earners list features the likes of Joe Duffy, Miriam O’Callaghan, and Ray D’Arcy while Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy sits at the top with earnings of €440,000.

Mr O’Reilly told Newstalk Breakfast that RTÉ salaries are much lower than they used to be with Tubridy’s pay reduced from €495,00 in 2021 and €446,250 in 2020.

“We all know the top one is the presenter of the Late, Late Show - which is Ryan Tubridy,” he said.

“There have been significant changes there. I went back and I looked at his salary 10 years ago - in 2013, he was on €723,000.

“That's a cut of almost 40pc. In that 10 years, there's been wage inflation as well of, maybe, 1pc to 2pc, so add that up.

“In real terms, his pay is less than half of what it was 10 years ago.”

He said that while Tubridy’s previous €723,000 salary may seem “astronomical”, it can be defended because of his “top” skills.

“All these people are the top talent in that area that they are - whether it's entertainment or journalism.

“If they were lawyers or top doctors, they would be getting commensurate amounts of money - that's the way it goes.

“We also have to remember they all bring significant advertising revenue to RTÉ, so there is a commercial aspect to it as well.

“I don't want to be to the judge on it, but the point I was making is it has changed”.

Mr O'Reilly also highlighted that there were more women in the top 10 than there was 10 years ago.

“Still not enough I'd say, it should be 50pc, but there's progress there.

“I think if you look to the future [and] ask yourself: ‘Are we not far away from a day where it'll be a female presenter of the Late, Late Show?’”

Figures released by RTÉ yesterday showed that Ryan Tubridy remains remains the top earner in the broadcaster while ‘Liveline’ presenter Joe Duffy is now the second best-paid presenter after overtaking Ray D’Arcy in the ‘Top Ten’ league.

Former Today FM presenter D’Arcy saw a reduction in his fees of nearly €150,000 over the years ending 2020 and 2021.

‘Liveline’ presenter Joe Duffy has moved one place up the list to claim the second position with earnings of €360,650 in 2020 and €351,000 in 2021.

Radio 1 presenter Claire Byrne claimed the fourth spot in the list in 2020 with earnings of €282,917 but moved up to third place in 2020 with fees of €350,000.

Figures show that Miriam O’Callaghan also took a reduction in her pay, which dropped from €320,000 down to €263,500 for both 2020 and 2021. She stands at number five on the list, down from number six.

Radio star Brendan O’Connor saw a slight increase in his pay from the broadcaster for the relevant years. He went from €220,000 in 2019 up to just over €238,000 in 2020 and €254,000 in 2021, bringing him to number six on the list.

Bryan Dobson stands at number seven on the list, going up slightly from €209,000 to €217,000 in 2020 and down to €209,000 in 2021.

Mary Wilson and Darragh Maloney claim the eighth and ninth place with earnings of €196,961 and €183,738 respectively.

And rounding off the list in tenth place is George Lee, whose salary sits at €179,131.

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