Ireland

RTÉ: O’Rourke set to be appointed new chair of board amid ongoing turmoil

Media Minister Catherine Martin will also bring forward the names of two new board members for Cabinet approval.

RTE sign (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Government is set to name Terence O’Rourke as the new chair of the board of crisis-hit broadcaster RTE.

Following a recommendation from media minister Catherine Martin, Mr O’Rourke’s appointment was agreed by coalition leaders on Monday night.

He will be announced, along with two other new board appointments, following approval from Cabinet on Tuesday.

Mr O’Rourke, originally from Co Monaghan, is a former KPMG managing partner and the current chairman of ESB.

It comes after the former chair of the board, Siun Ni Raghallaigh, hit out at Ms Martin, stating she had no option but to resign last week after an “enforced dismissal”.

She also criticised the minister for “actively taking a hands-off approach” to the widening scandal at RTE and accused her of not assisting with falling TV licence revenues.

Ms Ni Raghallaigh resigned from her role on the board of the broadcaster hours after Ms Martin expressed disappointment in her during a live television interview.

Appearing on Prime Time on February 22, the minister refused to express confidence in Ms Ni Raghallaigh, saying she had been misinformed about the chairwoman’s role in approving an exit package for former RTE chief financial officer Richard Collins.

The minister was criticised for her handling of the situation with opposition TDs claiming she had effectively sacked the chairwoman live on air.

In a statement, Ms Ni Raghallaigh said: “If the minister had decided that she no longer wanted me as chair, that is her privilege.

“However, I cannot remain silent about the manner of my enforced dismissal which seemed designed to traduce my reputation.”

Media Minister Catherine Martin said it was a challenging time in RTE’s history
RTE pay revelations Media Minister Catherine Martin said it was a challenging time in RTE’s history (Brian Lawless/PA)

However, Ms Martin responded by stating she needed to be able to rely on getting “clear, timely and accurate information” from the former chairwoman of the RTE board.

She added: “This is particularly important at such a challenging time in RTE’s history.”

Commenting on the new appointments, Ms Martin said: “An important step forward for RTE will be taken when I seek Government approval for the appointment of a new chair and additional board members.

“Upon appointment I will seek to meet the new chair and the director general in the coming days.”