Tánaiste hopes new chairperson for RTÉ will be identified and agreed on by Tuesday

Position vacant since Siún Ní Raghallaigh resigned after Minister declined to express confidence in her during Prime Time interview

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said he hopes that a new chairperson for RTÉ will be identified and agreed on by next Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

The position has been vacant since last Friday after the previous chairwoman Siún Ní Raghallaigh resigned after Minister for Media Catherine Martin declined to express confidence in her during an interview on Prime Time.

It came after Ms Martin said she had been misinformed about exit packages for RTÉ executives.

There have been divergences in the accounts, between RTÉ and Ms Ní Raghallaigh on the one hand and the Department of Media on the other, on who knew about changes in how severance packages were signed off on at the broadcaster.


Efforts to select a replacement chairperson are under way.

Fianna Fáil leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Martin said there will be consultations with the Coalition party leaders on the matter.

He said Ms Martin will bring forward names and he has not yet seen a shortlist.

“I would hope that we would be in a position by next Tuesday to have a person identified and agreed as the next chairperson because as I said repeatedly, public service broadcasting is extremely important.”

He added: “Given all the tumult over the last number of months it is important that we create stability within the RTÉ edifice ... and that it can get back to its core function.”

He also said: “There are serious issues around governance. There are two very significant [Government-commissioned] reports to come yet and I think they’ll inform future government policy in this area.”

A Government decision on how RTÉ will be funded in future will not happen until after these reports – which are delayed into next month – are delivered.

Mr Martin said the Government would like to have a decision made on the funding model before the Dáil’s summer recess.

For now, he said that the current TV licence fee is “key” this year and in 2025 and “in order to underpin public service broadcasting we need to collect as much licence fee revenue as we possibly can. I think that’s important.”

Licence fee revenues have dropped considerably since controversy first engulfed RTÉ towards the end of June last year.

Asked at a press conference if he was satisfied with Ms Martin’s performance during more than three hours of grilling at the Committee on Media on Tuesday evening he said: “I thought the minister was open and transparent and dealt with all the questions.”

He confirmed that she “absolutely” retains his confidence.

Mr Martin was speaking as it was announced that there would be an additional 100 jobs created by Infineon Technologies in Dublin and Cork.

He said: “Infineon are a world leader in respect of the semiconductor industry, particularly in the automotive sector, power control and the energy security area and I think it’s a further reflection of our capacity to attract high quality research and development jobs.”

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times