RTÉ paid Ryan Tubridy hundreds of thousands of euro more than it declared to the public or the Oireachtas.
In a statement this afternoon, the national broadcaster confirmed that it paid the former Late Late Show presenter €345,000 euro 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”.
“It is clear that RTÉ has fallen short of the high standards that it sets for itself and are expected of it,” she said.
“Once these issues came to light, we acted expeditiously to establish the facts and we are confident that the safeguards we have now put in place will ensure that nothing like this will happen again, and that good corporate governance is adhered to at all times.”
The issue was only identified in late March – with the RTÉ Board’s Audit and Risk Committee then calling in Grant Thornton to carry out an independent fact-finding review on the matter.
It found that RTÉ had agreed a separate arrangement with Mr Tubridy under which it guaranteed him an annual payment of €75,000 from a commercial partner, ‘in exchange for a number of personal appearances’.
As part of the agreement, RTÉ reduced the cost of the commercial partner’s sponsorship arrangement with the organisation through a credit note.
When the commercial partner then decided not to renew its sponsorship, RTÉ made the next two payments directly to Mr Tubridy, through his agent.
In total RTÉ paid Mr Tubridy €225,000 through the agreement over the three years in addition to his declared salary.
Separately, the Grant Thornton investigation also found that RTÉ had ‘understated’ Mr Tubridy’s salary by €120,000 between 2017 and 2019.
It means Mr Tubridy was paid €345,000 more than stated over the six-year period.
On top of that, RTÉ’s use of a ‘barter account’ to pay Mr Tubridy the last two €75,000 payments cost it an extra €80,760 in “fees incurred through the barter account process”.
The RTÉ Board said the circumstances that led to that understatement are “currently under examination”.
The board said it is taking the matter very seriously and has now asked Grant Thornton to review the contracts of RTÉs top 10 highest paid on-air presenters.
It said it was committed to ensuring there will be “appropriate accountability for what has occurred”.
Mr Tubridy announced his decision to step down as presenter of the Late Late Show on March 16th.
In a statement, Mr 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.