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Ryan Tubridy pictured on the series finale of The Late Late Show. Source: Andres Poveda
Tubridy earnings

RTÉ confirms Ryan Tubridy earned €345k more over six years than previously disclosed

Tubridy said he was “surprised” at the RTÉ pay revelations but “can’t shed any light” on what went wrong

LAST UPDATE | 22 Jun 2023

AN EXTERNAL AUDIT into a potential financial issue at RTÉ has found the company publicly understated Ryan Tubridy’s earnings by €345,000 since 2017.

In a statement released by the broadcaster today, the company said that an external audit, conducted by Grant Thornton, found that Ryan Tubridy’s salary was understated publicly since 2017.

In total, the company understated Tubridy’s actual earnings by €345,000, according to the broadcaster, over the last six years and for the first three months of this year. 

The review found that part of the issue related to paymnets to the RTÉ Barter Account, which deals with payments though an intermediary company.

The board of RTÉ also requested Grant Thornton to review the contracts of the broadcaster’s top 10 on-air earners to independently validate that their pay has been correctly stated and accounted for by RTÉ.

An internal review was also taken on into the other top 10 earners at the station and it was found that “all remuneration figures have been correctly”. 

The national broadcaster said Tubridy was guaranteed an additional annual income of €75,000 – which was intended to come from a commercial partner in exchange for a number of personal appearances.

The Journal understands that Renault, a longtime sponsor of The Late Late show, is the commercial partner in question. 

A spokesperson for the company said, however: “We don’t comment on our commercial agreements.”

This additional income from Renault was guaranteed and underwritten by RTÉ and Tubridy received the payment in July 2020 for two years.

RTÉ issued a credit note to the commercial partner thereby reducing the cost to it of its overall sponsorship arrangement with the organisation.

However, the commercial partner did not renew this agreement for a second year, and since the agreement was guaranteed and underwritten by RTÉ, the payments were instead made directly by RTÉ to Tubridy’s agent, on the broadcaster’s behalf.

Tubridy received two payments of €75,000 each in 2022, totalling €150,000 (being a payment for 2021 and a payment for 2022). It was these payments that prompted the review by Grant Thornton in late March of this year. On March 16th, Tubridy announced he’d be stepping down as host of The Late Late Show.

Additionally, Tubridy’s earnings for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 were understated, in total, by €120,000. 

€18,750 of the €345,000 total relates to the first three months of this year, before the review was launched. 

From 2017 to 2022, RTÉ had published Tubridy’s earnings to be over €2.8 million when the correct figure was over €3 million. 

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Tubridy 

In a statement responding to the revelations, Tubridy today said: “Like many people, I’m surprised by the announcements made in RTÉ’s statement today regarding the errors in the reporting of its accounts.

“It is unfortunate that these errors are in relation to how RTÉ have reported payments made to me but I just want to be clear: this is a matter for RTÉ and I have no involvement in RTÉ’s internal accounting treatment or RTÉ’s public declarations in connection with such payments.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be at the centre of this story but unfortunately, I can’t shed any light on why RTÉ treated these payments in the way that they did nor can I answer for their mistakes in this regard.”

Tubridy’s agent NK Management has released its own statement following today’s revelations.

“We were made aware today of RTÉ’s statement concerning its accounting treatment and public declarations of payments made to Ryan Tubridy.

“These are matters for which RTÉ has sole responsibility and accountability.

“There is no issue whatsoever in relation to the payments being properly and lawfully due and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Ryan Tubridy or NK Management.

“These issues are solely concerned with RTÉ’s internal accounting treatment and public declarations in respect of such lawful payments.”

Reaction 

Chair of the RTÉ Board Siún Ní 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.

Ní Raghallaigh said: “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.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Six One News this evening, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the matter is “very serious, very concerning”. 

“Transparency is essential in matters of this kind from RTÉ, particularly the public sector broadcaster, and in terms of its corporate governance and in terms of presenting its accounts to the Oireachtas and, indeed, to the public,” Martin said. 

“It’s a very serious issue, without question, in terms of the absence of transparency around these things.” 

The Minister for Arts and Media Catherine Martin said in a statement: “I am extremely concerned at the details which were contained in RTÉ’s statement today, on foot of that review being completed.”

Martin added that she has spoken with Ní Raghallaigh and has “subsequently written to her requesting that she meet with me and officials of the Department.”

The meeting with the Department has been arranged for Monday.

The Arts and Media Minister said “The public rightly expect much higher standards of transparency and accountability from Ireland’s Public Service Broadcaster.

It is unacceptable that these have not been met.”

Martin added: “It will be equally important for the Board to demonstrate that it is putting in place appropriate structures and processes to prevent a recurrence of a matter of this nature. ”

- Additional reporting by Eimer McAuley and Hayley Halpin

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