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Ryan Tubridy Niall Carson/PA Images
RTÉ pay scandal

New RTÉ chief wants decision on Ryan Tubridy's future with broadcaster by end of month

RTÉ has been engulfed in controversy since it admitted it had underdeclared the star presenter’s earnings.

RTÉ’S NEW director-general has said he will contact presenter Ryan Tubridy within the next week to discuss his future with the broadcaster.

Kevin Bakhurst said he wanted to treat Tubridy fairly but indicated that he would not speak personally to his agent Noel Kelly.

Former Late Late Show host Tubridy has been off air from his weekday radio show since a payments scandal broke at RTÉ last month and his future at the broadcaster remains in serious doubt.

RTÉ has been engulfed in controversy since it admitted it had underdeclared Tubridy’s earnings by €345,000 from 2017 to 2022.

The figure includes three €75,000 annual payments received by Tubridy for proposed public appearances for Renault, as part of a tripartite agreement involving the sponsor, RTÉ and the presenter.

The most controversial aspect of the deal was RTÉ’s decision to underwrite the payments, which effectively resulted in the publicly funded broadcaster covering the costs.

In an interview with the Irish Times, Bakhurst, who took up his role with the broadcaster on Monday, said he would not personally speak with Kelly.

“We can’t stop someone using an agent at the right point, but I can choose with whom I have conversations,” he said. 

Bakhurst said he knows from emails he has received from the public that opinions are divided on bringing back Tubridy.

He added: “So these are the kinds of decisions you are never going to get 100% support for, but in the end I’ve got to make the right, fair and correct decision, I think, for audiences, for RTÉ and for Ryan, and I want to treat Ryan fairly.

“And I think, in the end, all I can do is make the decision and explain the basis we take that on.

“I think there’s a lot of factors here. Ryan is an immensely talented broadcaster and clearly much loved by huge parts of the audience.

“I’ve got to judge a number of things here. One is the events of the past few weeks and the events of the last few days.

“But also, as I said, I want to talk to staff and I’ve already started doing that, and people who work in radio, and have worked with Ryan and other people who work in radio, and the leadership team.”

The director-general told the paper he wanted a decision on Tubridy’s future before the end of July.

Tubridy and his agent appeared before two Oireachtas committees on Tuesday where the presenter said he had been “publicly cancelled” and it was “touch and go” whether he would be allowed to return to his weekly radio programme.

He said he wants to return to RTÉ Radio as soon as possible “because it’s all I’ve got”.

“If I do go back to RTÉ, which I hope to, it’ll be a whole new world order,” Tubridy said.

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