No end in sight to RTÉ scandal as stability seems further away than ever

Former RTÉ chair’s blistering statement sure to overshadow Cabinet decision on her replacement

Good morning,

Siún Ní Raghallaigh’s blistering response to Minister for Arts and Media Catherine Martin is sure to overshadow today’s Cabinet decision on her replacement, the former KPMG chair Terence O’Rourke. And in many ways, that neatly captures the essence of the RTÉ scandal for the Government and the broadcaster: every step towards stability seems to be only partially cancelling out the previous two in the opposite direction.

Arthur Beesley and Pat Leahy capture the problem in our lead story today, plus there’s analysis on the statement here.

What next? Doubtlessly, Dáil questions, more committee hearings, a cache of documents about the resignation dropping to a committee. In short, no end in sight. Martin doesn’t appear to be in real danger of being forced from her position, and so long as she backs herself, it seems the rest of the Coalition has little interest in destabilising itself by seeking a head (even if the murmurs of concern are more audible). But the net effect of this is corrosive: Martin is damaged, relationships further soured, her authority in the crisis weakened, and public perceptions of Government and State competence further knocked. It seems a Government in its last year simply has to accept this, along with other signs of its cohesiveness and sense of purpose waning, such as Eamon Ryan and Simon Coveney’s blow up over data centres.


Against this backdrop, can it muster the resolve to make a call on RTÉ's future funding?

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Cabinet kick-starts the week this morning: The big item will be the new RTÉ chair, Terence O’Rourke, being anointed. More on that in our lead, but here’s what other matters Ministers will be discussing in Government buildings.

The RTÉ train keeps on rolling. The Public Accounts Committee is launching its report on the crisis at 11am in Leinster House.

Leader’s Questions are in the Dáil at its usual time of 2pm. Taoiseach’s questions follows at 3.15pm, followed by Statements on International Women’s Day at 4pm. Sinn Féin have a motion on supporting people with disabilities.

Heather Humphreys takes oral questions at 8.30pm, followed by Topical Issues at 10pm.

The full schedule for the Dáil is here.

The action in the Seanad kicks off at 1pm, with the main item in the afternoon the committee and remaining stages of the Criminal Justice (Engagement of Children in Criminal Activity) Bill 2023.

The full schedule is here.

In the committee rooms, changes to special education teacher allocations will be discussed at the education committee at 11am. At 2.15pm, the housing committee begins back to back sessions on homelessness with officials and homeless advocacy groups. It also has an evening session on its consideration of the Planning and Development Bill at 6.15pm, with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in attendance.

In the afternoon, the Justice Committee is hearing from the Garda on arson attacks, as well as continuing its pre-legislative scrutiny of legislation governing preservation of and access to data.

The full schedule is here.

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