Day of reckoning dawns for RTÉ as politicians say key questions remain unanswered

The verdict in Leinster House is straightforward: the broadcaster’s statement is not good enough

The first of what looks like many days of reckoning dawns for RTÉ before its meeting with the Oireachtas media committee this afternoon. As one committee member quipped last night, the tickets will be harder to get than for the Toy Show. The committee appearance comes hot on the heels of the release by RTÉ last night of a redacted version of the Grant Thornton report into the controversy over hidden payments, and a statement from deputy director general Adrian Lynch.

It’s detailed – for those who care about knowing their five year contracts from their tripartite agreements and their barter accounts from their consultancy fees, the full thing can be read here.

Or read Arthur Beesley’s analysis here.

When it comes to politics, the verdict is more straightforward: several senior sources last night shared the same view – the RTÉ statement is not good enough. Political sources pushed back on the thrust of the report, especially the degree to which it put former director general Dee Forbes squarely in the spotlight. Earlier in the day, the hope in Government had been that the statement could begin the process of putting a floor under the controversy – Minister for Media Catherine Martin urged RTÉ not to “squander” the chance to share all the information about the payments. But by evening, Opposition and Government were basically united in their skepticism, arguing that key questions remain unanswered. The report begins to peel back layers of who else knew what about the deal in RTÉ, with a lot of people knowing bits and pieces, but it states that only Forbes knew the lot. Expect all those executives named who appear at committees to face intense scrutiny. If the hope was that the report could be the beginning of the end, that hope looks likely to be short lived. This is the focus of our lead this morning.


Read more about RTÉ and the politics of the Tubridy payments fiasco here.

Elsewhere, this could be a slow burner. Pay hikes for top public servants is always a topic that promises backlash.

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Away from all the sturm und drang, the most welcome news yesterday was the safe arrival of baby Alice, born at 1.39AM to proud parents – our own Political Correspondent Cormac McQuinn and Elaine Coffey – with newly minted big sister Kate primed for action. Cormac reports she is hale and hearty at 4.18kg, “or 9lb 3oz in old money for the Brexiteers among us”.


It is, of course, impossible to look past the Media Committee’s engagement with RTÉ at 1.30pm, which will consume almost all the political oxygen on Wednesday. But elsewhere in the committees, sustainable development goals will be discussed at 9.30am at the committee on community and rural development, and the health committee will hear from representatives of the Endometriosis Association of Ireland at the same time. Transport Infrastucture Ireland will be in the transport committee after lunch, while Department of Finance officials will be with the finance committee to discuss digital fraud.

In the evening, the committee on budgetary oversight looks at the public service performance report, published last week. The agriculture committee meets with the Irish Farmers’ Association to discuss horticulture. The full schedule is here.

In the Seanad, the committee stage of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 is at 12.45pm, before statements on Local Government Matters at 2.30pm. The committee and remaining stages of legislation on veterinary products, animal feed and fertilisers is at 4pm, with the report and final stages of legislation underpinning the redress scheme for survivors of Mother and Baby homes at 5pm. The full Seanad schedule is here.

* This article was amended on 28/06/23 to remove incorrect details on today’s Dáil schedule