Five grand on flip-flops? RTÉ 'slush fund' spending revealed

Just under €5,000 was spent on 200 pairs of flip flops for a ‘Summer Party’ in 2016.
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.53 5 Jul 2023

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Five grand on flip-flops? RTÉ...

Five grand on flip-flops? RTÉ 'slush fund' spending revealed

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.53 5 Jul 2023

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RTÉ barter accounts were used to spend nearly €86,000 on golf outings between 2012 and 2022.

The spending, largely signed off by the broadcaster’s Head of Sales, includes nearly €19,000 spent in McGuirks golf on items including ‘sweaters, golf balls and shoe hire’.

Just over €38,000 was spent on two outings at Powerscourt in 2017 and 2018.


The spend was recorded in the ASTUS barter account – which also saw the broadcaster forking out tens of thousands on concert tickets, sports events and international flights.

Rugby World Cup

In 2019, the account was used to spend €111,796.55 on flights and accommodation for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Some €47,021.50 is listed as spent on hotels, with the remainder going on flights.

The accounts suggest the spend was for just six people, Group Head of Commercial Geraldine O'Leary, the Head of Sales and four clients.

The records also show spending on a host of other sporting events, including Champions League finals, European Championship Finals and Republic of Ireland away games.

Some €32,358.76 was spent on flights and tickets to the Euro 2016 Championships in France – with over €3,600 spent on 60 Ireland jerseys for those attending.

Meanwhile, €74,177.48 was spent on three cinema screenings in 2016.

One was for the RTÉ Centenary, which saw then Director General Noel Curran inviting guests, while another was for the broadcaster’s ‘Striking Out’ show, which involved a spend of over €2,300 on drinks at the IFI (Irish Film Institute).

A third €32,215.50 screening is marked as ‘RTÉ Sport’ with no other details.

At the stranger end of the scale, the account shows that just under €5,000 was spent on 200 pairs of flip-flops for a ‘Summer Party’ in 2016.

Between 2019 and 2022, the broadcaster also spent €8,317.22 on membership of ‘Soho House’ – a private members' social club in London.

Meanwhile, a spend of €4,568.61 is marked simply as ‘alcohol’.

RTÉ Executives arrive Government Buildings. RTÉ Executives arrive Government Buildings, 29-06-2023. Image: Norma Burke/RollingNews

It comes as RTÉ executives again come before the Oireachtas for questioning today.

In her opening statement to the Oireachtas Media Committee RTÉ Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh refused to say whether she has confidence in executive management.

She also called for RTÉ's finances to return to the control of the Comptroller and Auditor General.


The news last night that the broadcaster was operating three barter accounts to fund €1.6 million in client hospitality between 2012 and 2022 caused shockwaves ahead of the hearing.

That came after the broadcaster’s CFO Richard Collins last week told the Oireachtas there was only one.

Speaking today, Mr Collins rejected suggestions he misled the Oireachtas – noting that the three accounts all feed into the one pot.

RTÉ also published an anonymised list of its Top 100 earners last night. The list shows that over two-thirds of the top earners at the broadcaster hold executive or management roles.

The tranche of documents sent to TDs and Senators also shows that former RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes sent Ryan Tubridy a signed guarantee that his wages would be paid in full until 2025 and that RTÉ would not “make any request or enquiry” about a reduction in pay during that time period.

The agreement came nine months after RTÉ cut 200 jobs as part of a plan to reduce costs by €60m.

At the time, the broadcaster said it was also aiming to cut the wages of its highest-earning presenters by 15% as part of the plan.

Mr Tubridy and his agent Noel Kelly have asked to appear before the Oireachtas to “clarify a number of matters that have arisen”.

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