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Ryan Tubridy in talks to return to air on salary of less

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Mr Tubridy is also prepared to pay back the controversial €150,000 payment he received from RTÉ as part of a deal by the public service broadcaster to underwrite a previous commercial arrangement with Renault.

The new contract, which is still being negotiated, would see Mr Tubridy return to the airwaves.

Following the publication of the Grant Thronton review of his pay between 2017 and 2019, Mr Tubridy reaffirmed his commitment to publish any future contracts with RTÉ.

The deal has not been completed and talks are on-going but it is clear both Mr Tubridy and RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst are eager for the former Late Late Show host to return to the radio.

The Grant Thornton report found Mr Tubridy was unaware of the decision to adjust his salary when it was publicised by RTÉ for the years 2017 to 2019.

Conflicting committee statements from Adrian Lynch and Noel Kelly

Meanwhile, further Oireachtas committee showdowns loom as the entire RTÉ board will now be invited to appear before the Media Committee before the Dáil summer break ends.

Chair of the committee, Niamh Smyth, will seek to invite the rest of the RTÉ board before the Media Committee as TDs have already heard from the current chair, Siún Ní Raghallaigh and former chair Moya Doherty.

And chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, Brian Stanley, has said former director general Dee Forbes, former finance boss Breda O’Keefe, current CFO Richard Collins, director of content Jim Jennings and the auditor from Deloitte overseeing RTÉ accounts also need to come in.

Because TDs are currently on their summer holidays, committee members will have to hold a virtual meeting to agree to invite the board.

The RTÉ board will then have 14 days to prepare for any Oireachtas hearing.

‘We’ll wait to see what he does about it’ – RTE Director-General Kevin Bakhurst on Ryan Tubridy’s offer to return payments

“The overarching theme in all of this has been a lack of transparency with the board, a lack of communication with the board, no working relationship between the RTÉ executive and the board,” Ms Smyth said.

Ms Smyth said the RTÉ board is the “one piece of the jigsaw” which has been the “constant” throughout the controversy.

She said the RTÉ board were not able to fulfil their duties of oversight because of the “culture of secrecy, working in silos” in the executive.

“There seems to have been a lack of any respect towards the board from the executive,” she said.

Ms Smyth said that Ms Ní Raghallaigh was only recently appointed as chair and the issues that led to the payments controversy took place before she took over.

Chair of the Oireachtas Media Committee Niamh Smyth. Photo: Tom Burke

“I would be encouraging for the board to be given the opportunity to come before the committee collectively,” she said.

Members of the RTÉ board include: deputy chair Ian Kehoe, journalist; director of The Ark theatre Aideen Howard; RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst; Dr PJ Matthews of UCD; Anne O’Leary, chair of the audit and risk committee; RTÉ journalist Robert Shortt; tech entrepreneur Connor Murphy; barrister Susan Ahern; executive adviser and Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey; producer David Harvey and MIT lecturer Jonathan Ruane.

“We actually need to hear from the board that have been there throughout all of this,” Ms Smyth said.

“Ian Kehoe, I understand is the deputy chair of the board of RTÉ and he hasn’t had an opportunity to come before us and I think that would be most useful and helpful to the committee.”

Meanwhile, Mr Stanley said Ms Forbes, Ms O’Keeffe, Mr Collins, Mr Jennings and the auditor from Deloitte who worked on RTÉ’s accounts need to come before the Public Accounts Committee.

“As the Grant Thornton auditor concludes, ‘in my opinion, the logic of the adjustments was not sound’ accountancy practice. This should never have happened,” Mr Stanley said.

“Where was the director general, Dee Forbes, during this? What was the role of director of content, Jim Jennings, during this negotiation? Why did Deloitte not put a halt to this?”

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