RTÉ Director General, Kevin Bakhurst has said that he “can’t believe” there’s an annual spend of €80,000 on a “dedicated photographer” who’s job it is to take 16 ‘stills‘ a week on the set of soap opera, Fair City!
Mr Bakhurst was appearing with RTÉ Chairperson Siún Ní Raghallaigh at the Oireachtas Media Committee facing questioning about the ongoing difficulties post revelations around payments made to former Late Late Show host, Ryan Tubridy.
Earlier the Director General had announced a recruitment freeze in RTÉ and said that all discretionary spending will be stopped.
“Given the steep fall in the licence fee and the uncertainty over interim funding, it is the only responsible thing that we can do,” he said.
However, at the Oireachtas hearing today Mr Bakhurst said that RTÉ was “not on the verge of bankruptcy”, adding that he couldn’t run the organisation if it were.
“We are in an extremely challenging financial situation,” he acknowledged. “We do have to manage cash very carefully”.
He said that he also found it “shocking in the first place” that RTÉ had membership of an expensive club in London which had not been used for business meetings.
He said the membership was no longer being paid. Mr Bakhurst said that everything was under consideration including a call to sell the Montrose site.
“One of the things we are focusing on is about moving more staff and productions outside of Dublin,” RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst told the Committee.
The station expected the loss to the station from licence fee non-payment to “far exceed” the projected €21m losses to date.