A Bill to put a cap on the salaries of RTÉ staff has been introduced in the Seanad this week.
The Broadcasting (Restriction of Salaries) Bill 2023 proposes the maximum annual salary of any RTÉ or TG4 staff cannot be more than the annual salary of a TD or Cabinet Minister.
The Bill also proposes staff cannot receive money from commercial partnerships if their total pay that year is more than a member of the Dáil.
Bill author Senator Rónán Mullen told The Anton Savage Show the proposal begins to level the playing field among people employed by the State.
“We're talking about taxpayers' money fundamentally here,” he said.
"It's a crisis for the Irish taxpayer when people are being overpaid at the time when many people are struggling to get by.”
In 2021, Ryan Tubridy was the highest-paid presenter in RTÉ, earning €440,000. The second highest earner, Joe Duffy, was paid €351,000 while Claire Byrne was paid €350,000.
Mr Mullen told The Anton Savage Show the cap would match the Minister for Communications’ salary - €195,000.
Senator Mullen first proposed the Bill in 2019 but has reintroduced to the Seanad after RTÉ revealed it paid presenter Ryan Tubridy €345,000 more over six years than it had previously declared.
The independent senator also said fears that it will become more difficult to retain presenters in RTÉ is unfounded.
“That's very much to be tested,” he said. “If you're look at where the average journalists and media salaries are, they’re nowhere like what the so-called top talent are getting.
“There are lots of people who move from one organisation and to other countries in order to get better in terms of conditions - that doesn't mean that the organisations that they leave collapsed.”
Mr Mullen also said it is not RTÉ’s duty to be the “commercially bigger fish” and match the salaries of non-State-funded broadcasters.
“It is RTÉ’s objective to serve the public,” he said. “The Irish people are paying millions to run it and it is not acceptable that salaries have gotten out of control."
Senator Flynn said commercial partnerships are not enough to justify the top salaries of RTÉ staff.
“You can just justify excessive salaries on the basis that there are some commercial operations going on at the site paying for it, because it's your money too,” he said.
“If they are to be a commercial organisation, then let's not have a TV license."
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