By Róise Collins
PEOPLE in Donegal are demanding answers and action from RTÉ in the wake of the pay scandal that has gripped the broadcaster.
We took to the streets of Letterkenny to get the public’s views on a story that has been dominating the news cycle since it was revealed that the former Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy received €345,000 worth of undeclared payments made between 2017 and 2022.
This was just the tip of the iceberg and after last week’s Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee when those at the very top of the organisation were grilled the public were left with more questions than answers.
Seamus Callaghan from the Pearse Road said the whole situation has been “really unbelievable” and “disgusting”.
He said that RTÉ have not handled the situation well and believes there needs to be further investigation into the state broadcaster.
“I have always had good time for them but they seem to be very badly organised. I also had good time for Ryan Tubridy until this happened.”
He added that it also makes him question what is going on in other semi-state organisations.
Brendan Melia who was holidaying in Donegal agreed, “RTÉ have handled the scandal terribly badly,” he said.
“RTÉ were forced into admitting what was going on, but it would have went on and on if it hadn’t have been discovered,” he added.
Brendan also agreed that a full audit of the organisation is required.
A woman who wanted to remain anonymous said the whole situation is shocking and said RTÉ have handled the situation “very badly”.
“We all know what is going into our pay package. Most people would notice an extra tenner going into their account never mind an extra €70,000,” she said.
“I feel very sorry for the people working there because it’s not their fault and they are being hung out to dry. They all had to take pay cuts when there was this other pit of money.
“And the fact that it’s public money is awful,” she said.
She added that something has to be done about the TV license in the wake of the scandal.
“I would definitely question paying it going forward unless they do something about it.
“There isn’t anything on RTÉ at the moment, their programming is really bad. They are paying all this money to other people and they’re not paying it into the likes of you and me who are paying our TV license who want to watch something on television,” she added.
Brendan again shared a similar opinion, he said, “The lower rungs of the ladder in RTÉ were getting their wages cut, services were being cut and national interest programme budgets were being slashed to pay people like Ryan Tubridy’s wages”.
John Brennan from Castlefinn agreed that the wages are too high. He compared them to the wages of footballers in England, which he said has gone “completely overboard”.
He said that the whole thing was disgraceful adding that “the board themselves said it was deception”.
Another man who wished to remain anonymous said that he believed this was the culture within the organisation.
“But they thought that this was acceptable, even though it was the tax payer’s money they were using.”
“The whole idea of a ‘slush fund’ is a waste of money when people are struggling for a basic living,” he added.
He also believes the whole board should be dismissed and a whole new board should be appointed for full transparency within the organisation.