Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD called for a cap of RTE salaries in the Dáil today.
Deputy Tóibín stated:
“Yesterday I raised the fact that the average wage for farmers in this country is €8,000 a year. Today I want to raise the fact that salaries in RTÉ are as high as half-a-million a year. One presenter in RTÉ earns 61 times the salary of the average beef farmers every year. One RTÉ presenter earns €1,500 each hour of broadcast time. 8 hours of broadcast time or 1 week salary for that presenter is equivalent a full year wages for the average beef farmer in Ireland.
“That this is happening at all is a scandal. That this is happening at a time when RTÉ is in financial crisis is madness. Any goodwill that there is among citizens to see RTÉ survive or even grow into the future is being killed by these enormous salaries. Members of National Union of Journalists have said that plans to cut highest earners pay by 15% is insufficient. They have called for a €208,000 cap on pay of top presenters and management. Will you, Táinaiste, ensure that this happens?”
Speaking outside the Dáil chamber, Deputy Tóibín stated:
“It’s shocking that the Minister for Communications Richard Bruton sought to dodge responsibility for these astronomical salaries. He stated it was for RTÉ to decide. However, it is within the ability of the government to legislate for salary caps. The state has done this with banks operating in Ireland. They could do so if they had the will to do it with RTÉ also.
“Fine Gael’s instinct is constantly to sit on their hands and do nothing. However, this policy poses a significant danger to farming families throughout Ireland and the future of public service broadcasting.”