Who would want to serve on the board of RTÉ?

‘Suitably qualified candidates’ have been sought to fill a string of vacancies on the depleted board

Who would want to serve on the board of RTÉ now? We should find out sooner rather than later as the Public Appointments Service sought expressions of interest in December from “suitably qualified candidates” in a bid to find four new members.

Two are immediate vacancies, with the appointees due to succeed the now-departed Ian Kehoe and Connor Murphy, and two are to cover vacancies that will arise in November this year, as the terms of Anne O’Leary and Dr PJ Mathews come to an end.

Meanwhile, RTÉ's staff representative, Robert Shortt, left the board at the start of 2024 to become company secretary, meaning there are three vacancies on what would be at full strength a 12-person board.

After chairwoman Siún Ní Raghallaigh apologised in January for a “significant lapse” in oversight concerning the Toy Show the Musical failure, some RTÉ-watchers called for the resignation of those board members who were in situ during the key period in which the project was pushed through in the spring of 2022.


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But that would have meant the exit of all of the remaining board save Ní Raghallaigh, director general Kevin Bakhurst and Aideen Howard, who is director of The Ark Cultural Centre for Children. Wisely, Minister for Media Catherine Martin did not force the issue, as it only would have created yet another RTÉ governance headache at a time when it has enough of those.

On paper, the task of being a member of the RTÉ board — a part-time gig that pays €15,750 a year — does not sound onerous, with the role entailing “eight to 10 half-day meetings”, additional meetings “if circumstances necessitate”, some time for “preparatory reading” and the requirement to serve on the board’s sub-committees, including perhaps the all-important audit and risk committee.

The lesson of the past nine months, however, is that the position itself comes with a high degree of public and political scrutiny and attention, not all of it friendly. Who would want to join the RTÉ board post-scandal? Someone who enjoys a challenge, or several. Who should join it? Someone who, as the information booklet suggests, is “prepared to challenge when necessary”.