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Former RTÉ DG Dee Forbes in 2018. Alamy Stock Photo

PAC not giving up on bringing Dee Forbes in before committee

PAC chair says another meeting with RTÉ management likely to be needed, says chairperson.

THE OIREACHTAS PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) is not giving up on bringing former Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes and other witnesses in before the committee. 

Sinn Féin TD and chair of the PAC, Brian Stanley, has today outlined that the committee is seeking for witnesses, who have been invited but have yet to sit before members, to come before them whenever they are available. 

He has previously stated that the committee is open to being recalled during the summer if it is a suitable time for witnesses to appear.

The committee is also seeking outstanding RTÉ documents promised to the members.

“As Chair of the PAC, there are a number of witnesses that I want to see before the committee when they are available.

“These are former Director General Dee Forbes, former Chief Financial Officer Breda O’Keefe, former Commercial Director Geraldine O’Leary and former Director of Content Jim Jennings.

“Three of those individuals have not been before the PAC yet and I believe each of them have invaluable information to provide to the committee,” he said. 

He added that the committee is eager to see the Grant Thornton report into the 2017-2019 payments to Ryan Tubridy.

“We have yet to hear any credible answers from RTÉ representatives regarding these payments and when we see that report we may well need to speak again to other witnesses,” said Stanley. 

There are also a number of documents still outstanding that the PAC requested from RTÉ representatives that have yet to be sent on, he said. 

These include:

  • A copy of the side letter between Noel Kelly and Dee Forbes from a Teams call on the 7th of May 2020 that allegedly agreed and underwrote the tripartite agreement.
  • Confirmation from RTÉ that it is satisfied that all tax liabilities have been covered off regarding the two €75,000 barter payments for services by Ryan Tubridy
  • Breda O’Keefe’s retirement package and the minutes from the Executive board outlining who signed off on it
  • A copy of Dee Forbes’ contract
  • A full audit over the past five years of appearances by the top 20 stars in RTÉ on shows that they were not involved in. 

“It is my view that, once we have received these documents and the Grant Thornton report, we will need to have a further hearing with RTÉ representatives,” said Stanley. 

RTÉ has been engulfed in controversy since it admitted it had under declared 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.

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