RTÉ’s Director General Kevin Bakhurst has disputed a claim that the broadcaster has “refused” to provide the Oireachtas Committees with key documents.
Earlier today, Chair of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, Brian Stanley, revealed they received 160 documents from the broadcaster earlier this week.
However, he said the PAC were disappointed to discover some “very important” documents were not provided.
According to Mr Stanley, RTÉ has refused to share further details of former Director General Dee Forbes’ contract, plus information regarding exit packages for a number of top executives.
In a statement, shared on Friday, Mr Bakhurst said: “I think that it is important to highlight that RTÉ is fully cooperating with both Committees and being as thorough and transparent as we possibly can, within what is permissible in law.”
“RTÉ has provided the Public Accounts Committee with more than 160 documents requested, including one which contained over 500 emails relating to payments to Ryan Tubridy and a lengthy chronology of key events relating to Ryan Tubridy’s last contract. This follows the recent provision of more than 170 documents to the Joint Oireachtas Committee in advance of last week’s meeting.”
“Where documents have not been provided, this is because of legal and contractual obligations which preclude RTÉ from providing personal information. We are not ‘refusing’ to provide them.”
Mr Bakhurst continued: “That said, I can confirm what we have previously said publicly which is that that there was no exit payment made to Dee Forbes on her resignation or to Geraldine O’Leary who left seven weeks early to take retirement.”
“Due to issues raised about voluntary exit payments to former RTÉ employees, including Breda O’Keeffe, I commissioned an independent Review of VEP Schemes (2017 and 2021)in August.”
“This is being carried out by McCann Fitzgerald (Solicitors) and will be completed in the coming weeks.”
“However, we need to note that every individual at every level in RTÉ has a legal right to confidentiality and sometimes there are other legal constraints relating to departures as I’m sure the Committee will recognise.”
“RTÉ is also continuing to explore how we can cut costs through measures such as those introduced last week and maximise funding of RTÉ’s public services through commercial revenue, while also working hard to restore trust in the organisation.”
“And let’s not forget that, after a bumper weekend last weekend, we are continuing to do what we are here to do, engage audiences with exciting live sport, original Irish drama, great entertainment, vital news and current affairs and other important public service programming and content across our services.”