Senior RTÉ figures may be brought before PAC over findings in report on Toy Show the Musical

Report finds Toy Show the Musical overstated sponsorship revenue by €75,000

Toy Show The Musical. Photograph: Ste Murray

Senior RTÉ figures may be brought before the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be quizzed on the findings of the report on the broadcaster’s ill-fated Toy Show the Musical.

That report found the production had overstated sponsorship revenue it raised by €75,000, and that some internal figures admitted there had been “little interrogation” of the finances behind the project.

The musical, which ran over several weeks in the Convention Centre in Dublin in December 2022, made a loss of €2.2 million, after a large shortfall in ticket sales. The project came in for major criticism and despite plans to stage the production annually it has since been scrapped.

A long awaited report by auditors Grant Thornton, published on Thursday, found issues with the recording of sponsorship from the show, which it said was “not in line with generally accepted accounting practices”.


The PAC agreed on Thursday to seek an extension of its remit to allow them to examine issues arising from the Toy Show the Musical report and a separate report on staff exit deals at RTÉ.

The committee must get the green light from the Dáil Committee on Parliamentary Privileges and Oversight so that it can look into matters related to RTÉ and allow them to call in witnesses from the broadcaster.

RTÉ is not usually answerable to the PAC as its accounts are not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

PAC chairman Brian Stanley told the PAC on Thursday afternoon that during his brief look at what had come out from the report on Toy Show the Musical there are “some fairly stark revelations” and he believed the committee will have to revisit the issue.

Siún Ní Raghallaigh, Chair of the RTÉ Board, confirmed on Thursday night that it was willing to attend a hearing of the Oireachtas public accounts committee, as well as the media committee, to discuss the report.

“We would welcome an opportunity to discuss this in more detail with the Committees in order to provide the assurance needed that governance structures have been appropriately reformed and strengthened,” she said.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said there are “corporate failings” identified by the report and there is a possibility the PAC will have to invite people from RTÉ to a future PAC meeting.

The PAC is drawing up its own report on the controversies that have engulfed RTÉ.

Asked about the report, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed the board “could have asked more questions” about the project before it went ahead.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, he said: “I think it’s clear that proper accounting procedures and proper governance procedures weren’t followed.

“The board weren’t properly informed of this major new venture, didn’t approve of it, and the executive certainly failed in their duties in that regard.”

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times