RTÉ has misled the country and is guilty of 'blatant dishonesty' over Ryan Tubridy's salary.
That's according to The Hard Shoulder host Kieran Cuddihy, who was was speaking after it was revealed the broadcaster paid Tubridy hundreds of thousands of euro more than it declared to the public or the Oireachtas.
RTÉ confirmed it paid the former Late Late Show presenter €345,000 more than it declared between 2017 and 2022.
The Chair of the RTÉ Board, Siún Ní Raghallaigh, said the board is "well aware that this is a serious breach of trust with the public".
The board has said the circumstances that led to that understatement are "currently under examination".
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) June 22, 2023
Kieran said these are public funds that have been used.
"This is taxpayer's money that they have misled the country about," he said.
"There's no other way to describe it.
"They know every year, when these figures of their high-earning presenters are published, they know it gets a huge amount of attention.
"They know it gets talked about not just in the media, but around kitchen tables up and down this country - and they knew those figures were wrong.
"I should say, I don't begrudge Tubridy a penny of what he earns; I think he is brilliant at his job.
"I do begrudge RTÉ misleading the country, which is what they've done here.
"How was the deal agreed to - is the first question - and who knew about it?
"Why should we believe RTÉ on anything else when this is what they try to get away with?
"While none of this happened on Kevin Bakhurst's watch, as the incoming Director-General, how can he ask Government for additional funding when the organisation he's running is guilty of such blatant dishonesty?
"It's your money, it's my money, it's all of our money: we're the ones funding this, and we're mugs," he added.
'It is unacceptable'
Media Minister Catherine Martin has said she is "extremely concerned" with the findings.
"I have spoken with the RTÉ chairperson today, and have subsequently written to her requesting that she meet with me and officials of the department. The meeting has been arranged for Monday," she said.
"I have asked the chair to set out in that meeting, in detail, the issues involved, the steps the board is taking to deal with the matter, the follow on action that will be required, and the timeline for these actions.
"The public rightly expect much higher standards of transparency and accountability from Ireland's public service broadcaster. It is unacceptable that these have not been met," she added.
In a statement, Ryan Tubridy has said he can't shed any light on why RTÉ treated these payments in the way that they did, and he can't "answer for their mistakes in this regard."
He said he is "surprised" by the announcements made in RTÉ's statement today regarding the errors in the reporting of its accounts.
He has described it as "unfortunate" but said this is a matter for RTÉ and he has no involvement in RTÉ's internal accounting.