Ireland

Government considers bringing RTE under remit of State’s auditor

The change could give the audit office powers over the broadcaster’s spending.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he supports a cap on RTE exit payments
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he supports a cap on RTE exit payments Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he supports a cap on RTE exit payments (Niall Carson/PA)

The Irish government is considering bringing RTÉ under the remit of the State’s auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, as part of its plans to reform the broadcaster.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening that the move is being “considered”.

The change could give the audit office powers over the broadcaster’s spending.

Mr Varadkar made the comments days after saying he supports a cap on RTÉ exit payments and that confidentiality clauses “should be avoided” in the future.

It comes as RTÉ briefed Minister for Media Catherine Martin after it received further legal advice regarding publication of exit packages.

RTÉ director general Kevin Bakhurst and chairwoman of the RTÉ board, Siún Ní Raghallaigh, provided the minister with the update.

Earlier this week, Mr Varadkar said he has confidence in Mr Bakhurst and Ms Ní Raghallaigh, saying they are “doing their best” to stabilise the organisation.

The Fine Gael leader said he wants maximum transparency when it comes to exit packages at RTÉ.

“The public and the government want to know exactly what the nature of these exit packages were. Where some are early retirements, we want to know how it was calculated,” Mr Varadkar said on Tuesday.

“Where it was redundancy and exit package, we want to be assured that there were real savings here, that these posts are not backfilled and were genuine redundancies.”