TE’s director-general has said he does not believe that Ryan Tubridy has “owned his mistakes” in relation to RTE’s under-declaration of the star presenter’s salary, after talks on his return to the airwaves abruptly ended.
Kevin Bakhurst announced last night that there are now no plans for Tubridy, formerly RTE’s highest-paid star, to return to his presenting role at the Irish national broadcaster.
It follows a controversy over RTE’s under-declaration of his salary, which has widened out to probes launched into RTE’s financial affairs, accounting practices, governance and spending on advertising clients.
Mr Bakhurst said last night negotiations with Tubridy about returning to his radio show had concluded after stating that trust between the parties had “broken down”, but added the “door is still open” for a future return.
I do think that everyone has got to accept those reports in full and not in parts and not trying to spin their own narratives
Mr Bakhurst said he was “particularly disappointed” with Tubridy’s response to a highly anticipated report into the presenter’s earnings, which the director-general claimed questioned corrected figures for the period of 2020 and 2021.
Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland programme on Friday, in his third interview with RTE in 12 hours, Mr Bakhurst said Tubridy was “shocked and disappointed” with the decision not to continue with negotiations, adding he did not think Tubridy saw the decision coming.
He said that RTE staff “were strongly divided” about whether Tubridy should return, but added that he is a “hugely talented broadcaster” and he felt it was the right thing to try to bring him back.
“I felt there was an issue throughout about the need to accept your role in what has been a hugely damaging scandal for everybody involved, and particularly for RTE,” Mr Bakhurst told Morning Ireland.
He said the interim leadership team was consulted over the decision and they agreed.
“They realised like I did, it was a tough decision but they also realise we’ve got a job to do.”
Mr Bakhurst said that to question finalised reports into the under-declaration of Ryan Tubridy’s fees was “counter-productive” adding “we can’t be going around in circles arguing about this”.
“I do think that everyone has got to accept those reports in full and not in parts and not trying to spin their own narratives.
“We’ve got to own our mistakes,” he said, and when asked whether he believed Tubridy had done that, he said “No, I don’t.”
He said that discussions had begun with the head of Radio One and the acting head of content about Tubridy’s replacement.