Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns calls for details of all exit packages for RTÉ executives

National conference will hear from Palestinian ambassador, but Israeli ambassador has not been invited

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has called for the publication of details surrounding all exit packages for executives at RTÉ, saying there is a need for “full transparency” at the broadcaster.

RTÉ has sought fresh legal advice regarding what it can say around severance packages at the broadcaster after it confirmed it paid €450,000 to its former chief financial officer as part of a severance scheme.

The disclosure has led to calls from the political system for more details to be published on its severance packages, including one paid to former director of strategy Rory Coveney, who resigned from the broadcaster last year.

Asked if she would call for full disclosure of what was involved in the severance packages, Ms Cairns, who is this weekend steering her first national conference as Social Democrats leader, said: “Absolutely, we need complete transparency in relation to this.


“When we zoom out and look at this it’s key that RTÉ rebuild trust with the public that they can instil confidence in the public with the work that they do, and I don’t think that can be achieved without complete accountability and transparency,” she told reporters at the opening night of the conference.

Ms Cairns said that the conference would focus on disability, climate and housing, as well as hearing from the Palestinian ambassador. Asked if the Israeli ambassador – who the party wants ejected from Ireland – had been invited, Ms Cairns confirmed she had not been.

“Our focus in this moment at this time was to invite the Palestinian ambassador here,” she said. “The Irish people have sent a clear message that they want Ireland to be strong on this issue, and that’s why we’ve prioritised the attendance of the Palestinian ambassador at this particular conference.”

Ms Cairns said her ambition was to “offer as many people as possible the option to vote for the Social Democrats”.

“We’re trying to put social democracy on as many ballot papers as we can around the country, and we’re asking people to give us a chance. We promise to work hard and do our best to try and keep people’s trust, and we really want to be a part of a progressive change in Ireland.”

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Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist