RTÉ staff will be questioned again today by the Oireachtas Media Committee, in the wake of fresh revelations about the station’s barter account.
Last week, Chief Financial Officer Richard Collins told TDs and Senators there was only one barter account in use at the broadcaster.
It has now been revealed a number of barter accounts were used by RTÉ to fund €1.6 million in client hospitality between 2012 and 2022.
Media Committee members are livid at the revelations and are wondering whether they were misled by the Chief Financial Officer or if he was unaware such accounts existed.
Fresh documents given to the committee have revealed all 100 of RTÉ's top earners who make a wage of more than €116,000 - with just 31 of that hundred being presenters.
Documents also show the broadcaster agreed to pay for a mock up of the Late Late Show set, food, drinks and set up for events hosted by Renault Ireland under the agreement to pay Ryan Tubridy off the books.
However, there is no RTÉ signature on that so-called tripartite agreement
Further documents may be delivered to the Media Committee this morning.
Privately members have been scathing about the drip feed of information and feel these latest revelations could lead to resignations at RTÉ.
In the wake of yesterday's revelations, the RTÉ Board Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh convened a meeting and sought legal advice.
Ms Ní Raghallaigh has advised Media Minister Catherine Martin that she would be in touch with her once that advice had been recieved and ahead of today's hearing in Leinster House.
'A serious situation'
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Finance Minister Michael McGrath warned RTÉ executives to give a “full, open and honest” account in their testimonies today.
Minister McGrath noted that “at least some of the information [from] last week has now been contradicted” and this was a “serious matter”.
Before he was elected to the Dáil, Minister McGrath worked as financial controller at a commercial radio station and said the way RTÉ has been using barter accounts is “not in accordance with normal commercial practices”.
“I know that barter accounts, or contra accounts as we would have called them, are a normal part of commercial practice,” he said.
“But not for the type of transactions RTÉ appear to have been booking through those accounts and that is why the Minister has decided, in addition to the two independent reviews, to empower a forensic accountant under the Broadcasting Act to go in and get the answers that RTÉ and the Government need.”
Main image: RTÉ staff leaving Leinster House after reporting to the Oireachtas Finance committee. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie