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Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly agree to come before Oireachtas committees

Letters from Tubridy and Kelly’s solicitors have informed the committees that the men agree to meet with them.

LAST UPDATE | 5 Jul 2023

RYAN TUBRIDY AND his agent Noel Kelly have agreed to come before Oireachtas committees as the controversy over RTÉ’s failure to disclose €345,000 worth of payments to the presenter continues.

The Public Accounts Committee and Media Committee had both expressed that they wished to see Tubridy and Kelly, along with RTÉ representatives that have not yet come before a hearing, take questions from members on the circumstances surrounding the discrepancy.

Letters from Tubridy and Kelly’s solicitors have informed the committees that the men agree to meet with them.

In a letter to the chair of the Media Committee dated today, a Managing Partner of Hayes Solicitors said: “I am writing to you on behalf of our clients, Ryan Tubridy and Noel Kelly in relation to your Committee’s investigations into RTE expenditure and governance issues.”

The letter, seen by The Journal, said that ”Mr. Tubridy and Mr. Kelly wish to fully cooperate and assist with your Committee’s investigations. They believe that they have important information that will assist the Committee in its examination of these issues and clarify a number of matters that have arisen.

“Both Mr. Tubridy and Mr. Kelly kindly request to meet with your Committee at a suitable time next week.”

The letter says that they “would welcome this opportunity to set out their position on these matters and then submit themselves to appropriate questioning from the members of the Committee on what are clearly matters of public interest”.

“We will prepare a booklet of relevant documents which can be shared with the Committee in advance of our attendance.

“Please note that we have written in similar terms to the Committee of Public Accounts.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne, a member of the Media Committee, has said that the committee will meet with Tubridy and Kelly next week “if an agreeable time can be found”.

“We also look forward to hearing from Dee Forbes and Jim Jennings once they have recovered from illness or we are happy to receive written submissions,” Byrne said.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne, Senator Byrne said Tubridy and Kelly “should be asked to appear in public in the same way that we have invited other witnesses to appear so that the testimony would be available not just to us who are members of the Oireachtas Media Committee but indeed to the wider public and to licence fee payers”.

“We’re now moving toward the third week of dealing with this crisis and I think the drip drip drip effect is causing huge damage to RTÉ, particularly to a lot of those who are continuing to work very hard here in the broadcaster to keep programmes on air.”

He indicated that he believes resignations will be necessary to “start the process of rebuilding trust.

“I think the only way that we’re going to see an end to this process is for people to take responsibility for their actions and that we have full transparency about what went on.”

RTÉ representatives are appearing before the Oireachtas Media Committee for a second time today after a first hearing last week.

The broadcaster submitted a series of documents to TDs last night ahead of its appearance this afternoon which give further detail about its internal workings.

Since the initial revelation, it has further emerged that RTÉ underwrote a commercial sponsorship of Tubridy by Renault, labelled invoices for €75,000 payments made to Tubridy as a result as “consultancy fees”, and used a barter account for the payments.

The new documentation shows that Forbes promised that RTÉ would guarantee the controversial deal with Renault.

It also shows that Forbes told Tubridy that his pay would not be reduced by RTÉ up to 2025, though the broadcaster had made assurances to the public that it was reducing the salaries of its highest earners.

Additionally, a review of RTÉ’s finances has uncovered the use of more barter accounts by the broadcaster.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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