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Members of the RTÉ board The Journal

RTÉ board express 'great disappointment' at position Ní Raghallaigh was placed in by Martin

The board has requested a meeting with Catherine Martin “at the earliest opportunity”.

THE RTÉ BOARD has expressed “great disappointment and regret” over the resignation of its chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh, saying she was put in a position where she had “no other option”. 

Ní Raghallaigh resigned shortly before 1am in the wake of a Prime Time interview with Media Minister Catherine Martin, who failed to express confidence in her as chair of the RTÉ board. 

The minister said yesterday that she had been told twice that Ní Raghallaigh did not know about the details of Richard Collins’ exit package, but had learned in the course of the day that the Chair was in fact aware of them.

In her interview last night, Martin said that she was repeatedly “misinformed” by the chair on whether the board signed off on the exit package.

The minister said that Ní Raghallaigh assured her on Monday and Wednesday that the board had no involvement in approving exit payments made to a number of executives, but that yesterday morning, she was informed that the RTÉ board did play a role in signing off on Collins’s package.

His exit package went before the RTÉ remuneration board, which is chaired by Ní Raghallaigh. 

A statement from the broadcaster’s board then pushed back on those comments from Martin, saying that her department had been informed about the process which led to Richard Collins’ departure on 10 October.

Martin has said today that her department had only been informed of the “process” regarding Collins’s departure and not that his exit package had been approved. 

The remaining members of the board met this afternoon to discuss their response to the questions raised by the minister.

In a statement published this evening, the board’s members thanked Ní Raghallaigh for her time as chair and described her as “a person of the utmost integrity”. 

“We thank Siún for her dedication, decency, diligence and above all for her unswerving commitment to RTÉ and to the future of public service media in Ireland.”

The board’s statement also expressed ”great disappointment and regret that she was placed in a position whereby she felt that she had no option but to resign”. 

The board added that Ní Raghallaigh was responsible for “driving much needed governance reform and seeking to forge a more secure future for the organisation”.  

The board also confirmed in its statement that it is “committed to continuing to discharge its duties” and said it is waiting to hear back from external advisory committees appointed by the Government regarding recommendations on reforms.

“A secure funding model for RTÉ and public service media must remain our shared collective objective,” the statement said. 

The board said it has requested a meeting with Catherine Martin “at the earliest opportunity”. 

The minister told RTÉ News this evening that she intends to meet with the board early next week. 

This evening, Catherine Martin spoke to the media and said she was doing her best to manage the situation. 

On the subject of Ní Raghallaigh’s late night resignation, Martin said: “I think it’s a shame to make any decision without talking it through in person face to face just like we did during the week.”

Asked whether she had spoken to Ms Ni Raghallaigh since her resignation, she said she had not.

The tumultuous events of the last 24 hours are latest episode in a series of damaging controversies that have plagued the national broadcaster since it emerged that star presenter Ryan Tubridy had received undisclosed payments last year.

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