Ryan Tubridy: RTE has ‘no plans’ to bring back Ireland’s biggest TV star after scandal over salary | World News

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Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE says it has no plans to bring back star presenter Ryan Tubridy – after negotiations with the TV host broke down.

Tubridy – Ireland’s biggest TV star – has been at the centre of a controversy over the under declaration of his salary by €345,000 (£295,000) between 2017 and 2022.

The revelation sparked a backlash against the 50-year-old presenter – already the Irish broadcaster’s highest-paid star with a salary of €440,000 (£375,500) in 2021 – because they came at a time at which the cash-strapped broadcaster was making cuts elsewhere.

It also sparked a spending review at the broadcaster, which revealed so-called “barter” accounts used by top executives for lavish expenses, including tickets to watch the Ireland rugby team and to a Champions League final.

RTE director-general Kevin Bakhurst says Tubridy will not return to the channel after trust between the parties had “broken down”.

Mr Bakhurst said: “We went into negotiations with Ryan in good faith and in the hopes of reaching an agreement that would see Ryan return to his RTE Radio 1 show.

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“I have decided not to continue with negotiations and, as such, there are no plans for Ryan to return to his presenting role with RTE at this time.

“Despite having agreed some of the fundamentals, including fee, duration and hours, regretfully, it is my view that trust between the parties has broken down.”

Days of untouchable stars could be over

Nobody is indispensable. No-one is bigger than the organisation.

That’s the clear lesson to be drawn from the shock decision by RTE to sever ties with its biggest name.

“I don’t think he’s been well-advised,” was the understated assessment from the broadcaster’s director general Kevin Bakhurst, the softly-spoken Englishman who wielded the axe.

Just as most observers thought the two parties were coming to a deal that would see Ryan Tubridy back on the airwaves, it all fell apart.

It appears a defiant statement from Tubridy yesterday – which sought to poke fresh holes in RTE’s post-pay scandal narrative – was enough to sabotage the reconciliation.

Was he badly advised? Or was it part of a long game by a savvy media player? We don’t yet know.

What is certain is that one of Ireland’s most familiar faces has been dumped.

The days of untouchable stars and huge (by Irish industry standards) salaries could be over at the national broadcaster.

Even the word “talent” is now verboten in RTE’s Donnybrook headquarters.

“The door is open in the long run,” said Bakhurst, easing the iron fist back inside the velvet glove.

But Ryan Tubridy is clearly furious at how he became the face of a national scandal – in his view, because of RTE incompetence.

It’s hard to see how the presenter ever walks through that particular door again.

In June, at parliamentary committee, Tubridy claimed he had been “cancelled” over the RTE controversy, while his agent said he had “undeservedly” been made the “poster boy” for the secret payment scandal.

Tubridy also said he was surprised to find out about the errors and that the accounting procedures were nothing to do with him.

Meanwhile, RTE’s former director-general, Dee Forbes, was suspended in June amid the controversy. She was due to step down in July.

RTE announced Ms Forbes’s suspension in a statement, which read: “There are processes ongoing and RTE must be mindful of its legal responsibilities and the rights of individuals.”

Dee Forbes
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Former RTE director-general Dee Forbes was suspended in June

Tubridy fronted Ireland’s The Late Late Show – an Irish institution and the longest running talk show in history – for 14 years before he stepped down.

He also had a weekday morning radio show with RTE Radio 1.

Patrick Kielty, who has fronted a number of BBC shows and documentaries, was announced as The Late Late Show’s new host in May. He is due to start in September.

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