We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Director General Kevin Bakhurst
new strategy

RTÉ to cut 400 jobs, limit presenter salaries and make users sign-in for streaming

A multi-functional studio in Cork and a new audio app are also part of the strategy.

RTÉ WILL CUT 400 jobs over the next five years as part of a plan to secure a €20 million bailout from the government.

The target will be reached through a phased Voluntary Exit Programme, with the aim of realising “savings in our people costs”. This is to cost around €50 million. Presenter salaries will also be limited.

RTÉ today launched its New Direction Strategy, which Director General Kevin Bakhurst has described as a “transformational vision” for the national broadcaster.

The job cuts, he says, will make RTÉ a “more agile” organisation.

As part of the plan, personnel costs will reduce from 51% of operating costs in 2024 to 45% in 2029. 

A consolidated Donnybrook site will also mean reduced overheads, “with fewer people on-site due to headcount reductions and further increases in hybrid working”.

A new multi-functional studio will be established in Cork, which it says will deliver a mix of in-house and commissioned programmes. One of the strategy’s aims is to invest more outside of Dublin.

Bakhurst said the strategy will “guarantee” audiences will get “the type of content they value”.

RTÉ will also close four digital radio services and launching two new apps – one for news and one for audio.

Among the promises are improvements to RTÉ Player and RTÉ’s mobile apps. Now all RTÉ Player users will have to sign in to stream.

Fair City

This afternoon, Bakhurst told a staff meeting in Montrose that the production of The Late Late Show and Fair City would be moved off site. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme this evening, he said that both programmes were made in buildings that needed maintenance. 

“We’ll be losing the facilities here on Donnybrook to make those programmes. The Late Late is obviously made in the TV building, which is listed, 60 years old, leaking roof, rather aging equipment, probably a studio which is smaller than we’d like anyway,” he said.

“We won’t be able to maintain that building beyond a five-year period. In terms of Fair City, a similar thing applies. It’s made in some of the buildings that we are planning on closing, that we don’t want to spend public money on upgrading.”

When asked if the shows would be produced by independent companies, Bakhurst said: “We need to look at the options, and I think those are two options for those two.”

He said there will be a saving of €150 million to begin with, as they will not have to spend €300 million upgrading the buildings in Donnybrook. 

The national broadcaster was plunged into crisis in June last year after it admitted understating the fees for its star presenter and previous top-earner Ryan Tubridy.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) described the last 12 months as “traumatic” for staff.

“The litany of corporate governance failures combined with political inaction on funding has left staff demoralised,” said NUJ Secretary Séamus Dooley.

“While we would welcome a new direction there are very real concerns about the long-term future of employment within RTÉ.  

“A ‘transformed RTÉ’, to use the language of the strategy, should not be predicated on such a heavy reliance on the effective outsourcing of signature programmes.”

The union will take time to scrutinise the strategy in its entirety.


In May, an expert advisory committees published two reports on the state of RTÉ and made 116 recommendations.

The final report of the forensic accountant, Mazars, formally identified that a number of barter transactions which had “no valid basis” were made by senior RTÉ figures. 

It found that hospitality and travel and subsistence expenditure made through the barter account was under-reported to ministers by RTÉ over the period 2017 – 2022.

The report also confirmed that the barter account and contra transactions have now been recorded correctly in RTÉ’s financial statements. 

Reforms at RTÉ, it said, should include having a financial or formula cap in any future exit scheme; reforming the approach to engaging and paying presenters; improve the functioning of the RTE Board and its committees; and ensure greater transparency for higher executive pay, it was recommended.

It also said there should be improvements to the accountability of the director general to the RTÉ Board; strengthening of the implementation of gender, equality, diversity and inclusion policies in the broadcaster; and measures to ensure that the review of roles and grades and forthcoming review of allowances in RTE are effective, transparent and include consultation with employees.

The cost of three reports has amounted to around €570,000 to date and is expected to reach as much as one million euro as the Department of Media awaits confirmation of further invoices.

Media Minister Martin said she believes the reports “represent value for money”.

In a statement, RTÉ said at the time that it accepted “in principle” the recommendations made in the two expert advisory committee reports.

‘Horror and disgust’

SIPTU said its members have reacted to the strategy published today with “horror and disgust”, especially with RTÉ’s intention to outsource more.

SIPTU Organiser, Martin Mannion, said: “This is not a blueprint for improving RTÉ but rather a clear move towards its privatisation and making it a publishing broadcaster, which releases outsourced productions, rather than a national broadcaster.

“It is clear that management has learned nothing from the recent scandals involving the station. Many of these incidents of misgovernance were related to the station’s relationship with outside contractors.

“However, rather than seek to rectify this situation by ensuring its good governance as a public body the RTÉ management is seeking to strip it of much of its key operations by outsourcing them to the private sector.”

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel