16th August 2023

The July Greg Hughes Show could not avoid the topic exercising many peoples’ minds being the ongoing controversy in RTE and how this has been played out on the airwaves. Seamus Gunn opened by making a point that he thought was not receiving the coverage it deserved, that being the different tier makeup of the responsibility for the statutory body. He said that while a lot of the media’s attention was focused on the leading personality and another one coming into the headlines in the last 24 hours, the structure within the setup laid responsibility with the board members appointed by government to oversee and to hold to account the executive board led by the director general who recently stood down. The presenter countered by highlighting that the board were kept in the dark by the executive board and therefore they were not in a position to oversee this aspect. While our contributor said he would accept this point for 1 and possibly with a stretch to 2 years, he emphasised that it was an ongoing “modus operandi” from 2017 to 2022. He was not for absolving the board of the responsibility to oversee that proper management, practices and processes were in place and being implemented by the executive board who were in charge of the day-to-day management of the station. This goes to the heart of corporate governance, and he did not accept that ignorance of the facts was an acceptable excuse in relation to discharging one’s obligations. 

A second point that was alluded to was the circuitous method of payment of the 2 annual sums of € 75,000.00 which after intermediary fees were added, it is reported amounted to  € 230,000.00 approx. He said that the convoluted method of making the payment would likely be the subject of further scrutiny in the coming week when both Noel Kelly and Ryan Tubridy are to appear before both the media committee and the public accounts committee. He expects that there will be further comment and explanations forthcoming. Greg Hughes made the point about the likely tax implications for the statutory body going forward and was not happy with moral ethics that were adopted by making payments and guaranteeing payments to an individual while at the same time expecting others to tighten their belt. Our contributor was of the view that contractual obligations had to be honoured, that it was the method in which they were discharged that was under scrutiny. No doubt more to follow on this one. 

While the Q&A session is always varied, today’s programme was more varied than most and can be listed to below.