RTÉ’s D-G Bakhurst Gets Both Barrels In PAC Reveal

RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst

RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst has been warned that his position will be untenable unless a key document at the centre of the Ryan Tubridy payments scandal is revealed

Mr Bakhurst is facing intense scrutiny TDs to hand over the note, which has been repeatedly requested by the Public Accounts Committee.

RTÉ claims that legal advice restricts it from providing the PAC a note of a meeting between Tubridy, his agent Noel Kelly and former RTÉ director general Dee Forbes.

It is where a commercial deal between Mr Tubridy and Renault was underwritten leading to the former Late Late Show host picking up an undeclared €150,000.

PAC Chair Brian Stanley told Mr Bakhurst on Thursday that their legal advice contradicts that of the public broadcaster with regard to the now infamous unseen document.

Labour TD Alan Kelly criticised the RTÉ director general to say that this was not a “two-way relationship,” and that RTÉ was not entitled to ask to see legal advice given to PAC.

This is a pivotal moment for you. There’s a moral issue here,” Mr Kelly said.

I’m telling you this: if it ends up in a scenario whereby this goes through where we have to compel this, it could end up legal, it could end up in the courts, your position won’t be tenable.

I’m sorry. I actually think you’re doing a good job. I think you need to reflect.”

Mr Bakhurst told TDs and senators that RTÉ is spending a quarter of a million euro a month on ongoing reports into issues and controversies at the broadcaster.

Three separate firms – Mazers, Grant Thornton and McCann Fitzgerald are reviewing RTÉ practises. This is along with separate independent reviews ordered by the government.

The director general says the broadcaster would need extra funding by early spring next year, or else face insolvency.

The Dáil’s public spending watchdog heard that the broadcaster currently has €64m, which it has estimated should fund RTÉ until early 2024.

Mr Bakhurst said that if RTÉ does not received promised interim funding from the government, it will become insolvent.

If we didn’t get this cash, we would run out of cash, that’s for sure,” Mr Bakhurst said.

It is worrying” he said, agreeing with Independent Wexford deputy Verona Murphy.

Mr Bakhurst told PAC on Thursday morning that RTÉ is currently not planning compulsory redundancies in order to urgently save money.

We’re not looking at compulsory redundancies, and I think even if we went if we wanted to go down that route, which I do not, we would need political sign off from the Department. And I think the Taoiseach and the minister have both made it clear that there’s no appetite for that,” he said.

RTE was plunged into crisis in June when the broadcaster revealed it had not correctly declared fees to its then-highest-paid earner Ryan Tubridy.

The scandal widened as a series of other financial and governance issues emerged.