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Tubridy, Duffy, Finucane....here are the presenters in the firing line for substantial pay cuts at RTÉ

It was announced last night that RTÉ is to cut 200 jobs as part of a major restructuring plan.

tubs Late Late Show Host Ryan Tubridy. Source: Michael Chester/Photocall Ireland

RTÉ PRESENTERS RYAN Tubridy, Joe Duffy and Ray D’Arcy could all be in line for significant pay-cuts after the broadcaster announced widespread cuts at the company.

Last night, a lengthy statement detailing the extent of the cuts was sent to newsrooms across the country, after the news was leaked to the Irish Times. 

The national broadcaster revealed details of the plan yesterday evening which will see 200 jobs cut next year as part of a major restructuring plan that will seek to reduce costs by €60 million over three years.

The plans will also see the pay of its top contracted on-air presenters cut by 15%.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said many of the contracts for the broadcaster’s top earners were “put in place when RTÉ was in a very different place.

“The organisation is in a very, very challenging place right now and we simply cannot afford to pay people what we have been paying them,” said Forbes. 

Forbes said that RTÉ’s top contracted presenters earn €3 million between them and that 15% – €450,000 – will be cut off that total figure. 

Those facing potential salary cuts at RTÉ include Late Late Show host Tubridy, the highest earning presenter at the company, who earned €495,000 in 2016. 

The broadcaster’s other top presenters include Ray D’Arcy, who earned €450,000 in 2016 and Liveline presenter Joe Duffy – also a contractor – who was the third highest earner in 2016, taking in €389,988.

Marian Finucane made €300,617 through her company Montrose Services in 2016.

mirium 555_90541546 RTÉ presenter Miriam O'Callaghan Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Miriam O’Callaghan, who earned €299,000 in 2016 through her company Baby Blue Productions, is also among RTÉ’s top earners alongside sports broadcaster George Hamilton and presenter Claire Byrne, who earned €186,195 and €216,000 in 2016 respectively. 

It’s not yet clear which of RTÉ’s top-earners will face pay-cuts and to what extent their salaries will be reduced. Forbes said this morning that RTÉ still needs to work out details of the plan.

RTÉ said the 15% reduction is in addition to cuts of “over 30% agreed in previous years”.

‘Cuts’

Under cut-back plans, Lyric FM is to be retained but its production moved from Limerick to Cork and Dublin.

The broadcaster confirmed in a statement last night that it will close its Digital Audio Broadcast network as well as RTÉ’s digital radio stations, including RTÉ Gold and stations like 2XM and RTÉ Pulse.

RTÉ executives are to take a 10% reduction in pay and the board of RTÉ will “waive its fees”.

As well as a reduction in staff numbers of about 200 next year, other staff-related savings are to be found.

Forbes addressed the situation on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning, speaking to presenter Brian Dobson. 

Dobson asked why a statement regarding the cuts, which was ready to be published, was held back.

Forbes said the plan was ready to go, however it was put on hold due to the death of Gay Byrne. 

The full statement was released by RTÉ last night after the Irish Times broke the story. 

“Our priority, of course, in any situation is to inform our staff first,” Forbes explained. 

“We were ready to go with this plan, but unfortunately this week we had very sad news when … Gay Byrne passed away,” she said. 

So, we decided not to go public this week, and we were pushing to next week. 

“Unfortunately, the information leaked, and last night the Irish times went with the story,” she said. 

Forbes said her priority was to “get to staff” as quickly as possible and not to have a gap in information. 

RTÉ management are due to meet with staff and union representatives later today. 

RTÉ has said it will work to reduce staff costs by consulting with staff and unions “on a number of initiatives, to include pay freeze, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits, work practice reforms”.

In a statement last night, RTÉ said that licence fee evasion rates in Ireland are among the highest in Europe and is “costing jobs”.

The station says that between people who evade their TV licence fee and those who just watch RTÉ programming on the RTÉ player, “over €50 million is lost to public broadcasting every year”.

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