RTE, apparently, is in hock to the tune of €2.8 million, on the face of it, a huge amount of money but not in the broader scheme. This sum might not, for instance, come anywhere close to the budget of the average county council roads area of which there might be four of five to a council.
But more to the point, it comes nowhere close to the earnings of the top ten RTE earners who are as follows:
Ryan Tubridy. €495 k
Joe Duffy, €417 k
Marian Finucane, €295 k
Sean O Rourke, €290 k
Miriam O Callaghan €280 k
Brian Dobson, €196 k
George Lee, €179 k
Richard Crowley, €174 k
Colm Hayes, €170 k
Derek Mooney, €169 k.
This comes to a total of €2,665k.
Now, I’m sure all of these are fine people who do a fine job, and of course nobody is going to work for nothing but at the same time, is Ryan Tubridy worth half a million a year to talk nonsense on the radio for an hour in the morning and more nonsense on the television once a week?
I’d take that gig and I wouldn’t be looking for €500 thousand.
Is Joe Duffy worth four hundred thousand euros a year to shout people down? Could RTE find nobody to work for let’s say a hundred grand, who might be able to present an afternoon show for an hour and a quarter a day? Is that beyond the wit of man? Is there nobody out there with the talent of Joe bleedin’ Duffy?
Are we such a talentless country that we can’t find two people to do the job of Joe Duffy and Ryan Tubridy for €200 thousand combined instead of just under a million? Are we really that useless?
Coud we not find a replacement for Marian Finucane who might actually be able to keep the listener informed as to who she’s talking to? Does Sean O Rourke really need to be paid €300 thousand to present a morning news show? Is there nobody capable of doing the same job for a ton?
Perhaps instead of complaining about lack of funding, RTE might look instead at the cossetted inner circle it has supported since its foundation, but of course it won’t unless it’s forced to do so.
What RTE really needs is an external commission to examine it in the most intimate way imaginable, to tear it apart and to rid it of the comfortable cliques who have had control of it since its inception.
It’s high time we had a new RTE, free of the cosy circles that have fed off it since the start.