RTE payments scandal: Golden parachutes for senior management

By Finghín Kelly 

If you thought that the RTÉ payments scandal could not get any worse, then you were very much mistaken.

February saw the new Director General, Kevin Backhurst – who was meant to clean up the mess – reveal that he authorised huge ‘golden parachute’ payouts amounting to hundreds of thousands to departing senior management last year. The former Chief Financial Officer was paid €450,000. The rest of the pay-outs are being kept secret, including the amount paid to Fine Gael Minister Simon Coveney’s brother, Rory who was Head of Strategy.

Non-payment of TV licence 

Contrast this with how regular workers are treated – who get nothing for leaving a job voluntarily and can’t even claim social welfare! This also contrasts with how regular workers in RTÉ are treated where there is a huge level of bogus self-employment and precarity.

In protest over the scandals thousands are refusing to pay the TV licence. One in five households are now refusing to pay the licence fee. 60 people a day are currently before the courts and that’s set to increase with 13,000 District Court summonses issued to non-payers last year.

The amount not paid by these 13,000 households amounts to €2.1m. This is the same amount that RTÉ senor managers squandered on their ‘Toy Show Musical’ flop. And is a little less than the €2.3m paid to senior managers last year in golden parachute payments.

All prosecutions for non-payment need to stop. The TV licence should be abolished. Instead of this regressive and unfair charge, we need to see its replacement with funding through a progressive taxation system, where the vast profits and wealth of corporations are gone after and taxed. In addition, a levy on social media companies could bring in millions.

A democratic public broadcaster

Changing the way funds are collected is not enough. We also need a complete transformation of RTÉ.  RTÉ’s cosy relationship with commercial interests has to end. It is one of the world’s public broadcasting companies that’s most dependent on commercial revenues. End all advertising on RTÉ.

RTÉ is also hugely dependent on buying in programmes on the cheap. Funding should be brought in line with international norms and be doubled so quality programmes can be made.

Senior management need to be cleared out. Bring in salary caps and bring RTÉ into democratic public control with regular RTÉ staff, representatives of artists, journalists, actors, and the public brought into the heart of decision making.

Previous Article

Review: The Zone of Interest directed by Jonathan Glazer

Next Article

All eyes on Rafah as Gaza genocide set to escalate 

Related Posts