New RTÉ Board "absolutely essential" for broadcaster - Ross

'The executives, who were there yesterday, are a busted flush in that they haven't got the confidence of anybody'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.51 6 Jul 2023

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New RTÉ Board "absolutely...

New RTÉ Board "absolutely essential" for broadcaster - Ross

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.51 6 Jul 2023

Share this article

There needs to be a 'total cleansing' at the top of RTÉ with a new board 'absolutely essential' for the broadcaster.

That's according to Former Minister Shane Ross, who was speaking as amid fresh revelations about the station's barter account.

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


The golf 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 incoming Director-General of RTÉ, Kevin Bakhurst, met Media Minister Catherine Martin today, with the meeting having been moved forward by 24 hours.

Shane Ross earlier told Newstalk Breakfast the executives that have been appearing before Oireachtas Committees are 'a busted flush.'

"What we are seeing here is an operation which has no chief executive [and] a board not functioning with its executives,” he said.

"You have a Minister who is struggling to try and put some shape on it, you have a staff whose morale is at rock bottom – and that's all exposed in public.

"Public trust has been lost.

"Obviously, the executives who were there yesterday are a busted flush, in that they haven't got the confidence of anybody that I can see at the moment.

"I also see questions that haven't been asked of the board itself, who are sitting there pointing their fingers at the executive.

"Where is the board?"

RTÉ executives appearing before the OIreachtas Media Committee RTÉ executives appearing before the Oireachtas Media Committee. Picture by: Oireachtas screenshot

Mr Ross said a new board is "absolutely essential at this stage."

"I don't think RTÉ can credibly continue with the same people who've been there at the top,” he said.

"I think it needs a kind of total cleansing and total change in the structure".

'Boards are there to challenge executives'

Mr Ross said other board members have questions to answer.

"I think the questions to the board should be asked as well, as to the executives, to say, 'How did this happen?'

"Were they not asking the right questions?

"Some of the board members of RTÉ, who haven't appeared before the PAC or the Media [Committee], have been there since 2014".

A split-screen of an RTÉ cameraman and RTÉ executives arriving at Leinster House. A split-screen of an RTÉ cameraman and RTÉ executives arriving at Leinster House.

Mr Ross said the RTÉ Board is supposed to hold the Executive to account.

"Boards are there to challenge executives, that's what the point of the board is for," he said.

The board in this case - not just in the case of remuneration, but it's one [thing] - quite patently, obviously, was not challenging the executive.

"They didn't seem to know what was going on.

"The board doesn't seem to have challenged them on any of the issues which have emerged.

"What I saw yesterday was a board that was captured.... by its executives, [as] if the executives are kind of working separately from the board.

"But the board is actually tacit and complicit in that, and not aggressively asking those questions which would have exposed some of these problems at some stage".

Presenter Ryan Tubridy and his agent Noel Kelly have asked to appear before the two Oireachtas Committees investigating RTÉ next week.

Listen back here:

Main image: Shane Ross arriving at Dublin Castle in June 2020. Picture by: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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Broadcaster Catherine Martin Kevin Bakhurst Newstalk Breakfast RTÉ Board Ryan Tubridy Shane Ross

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