RTÉ responsible for ‘fog’ of untruths and misleading the public, says Ryan Tubridy

by Rose Barrett
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After three weeks of counter claims of who-knew what and who knew nought regarding the Ryan Tubridy ‘overpayments’, the popular presenter and his agent Noel Kelly appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meetings today.

Apologizing heartily for the negative publicity it has cast on the national public broadcaster, and for the hurt it has called to many, Mr Tubridy extended his apology to his hard working friends in RTÉ, his family and to the PAC committee.

But he was absolutely adamant, RTÉ was the engineer of this debacle and it has been drip feeding information to the PAC – often misleading information – when it could have delivered full contract details at an earlier stage.

Earlier today, Mr Tubridy stated both he and Mr Kelly volunteered to appear before the committee, and they would present key documents and relevant extracts from his company records to the Oireachtas which will clarify some of the agreement made regarding these payments.

Mr Kelly said he and his client Ryan Tubridy had been scapegoated in recent weeks, abut the subterfuge around the Renault and Tubridy deal were all of RTÉ’s making, it was the national broadcaster who gave instructions as to how the invoices were to be presented, and not of his company’s requirements.

As an independent contractor to RTÉ, Mr Tubridy pointed out there were seven mistruths within the broadcaster’s statements over recent weeks, and he would try to address them all.

Between them, Noel Kelly and Mr Tubridy presented evidence in documentation that Ryan Tubridy had indeed taken a wage cut in recent years. Furthermore, he had waived payments over two years of €120,000 and the sponsorship deal between Renault and Mr Tubridy was not an unusual or ‘covert’ arrangement. It was a typical barter or sponsorship arrangement.

Both Mr Tubridy and Mr Kelly vehemently denied any intent to mislead the public or to conceal any additional earnings of Mr Tubridy’s. This was all created by RTÉ in their presentation of invoices.

“The result is I have become the face of this scandal… ,” said Mr Tubridy. “I take full responsibility for not speaking against the figures re 2017, 2018 and 2019. Remember the Grant Thornton report exonerated me of any wrongdoing.”

Mr Kelly in turn echoed everything his client had said.

“We appreciate the seriousness of the issue which has been hugely damaging to Ryan Tubriday and my own business,” and he noted extracts from Tubridy’s company re the contract between Renault and Mr Tubriday.

Reporting of 2017, ’18 and ’19 payment entirely RTÉ’s mess!

“The reporting of the 2017, 18 and 19 payments, entirely a mess oF RTE’s making. In January 2021, RTE knew what they had paid Ryan, and published the wrong figures. We specifically asked RTE to give us advance notice prior to publishing figures but they didn’t.

“They’ve overstated Ryan’s earnings for both 2020 and 2021. Former Chief Financial Officer, Ms Breda O’Keefe sent an email re a proposed €75k sponsorship deal with Renault and RTE’s proposal to underwrite the deal!”

It’s very shabby treatment then, he claimed, that RTÉ distanced themselves from the agreement which was copied on February 20 from Ms O’Keefe to Mr Kelly, to another senior member of the RTÉ executive and to a legal representative of the broadcaster!

“The email read: ‘This is our final position re the new agreement….’ At the end of the document, there is a note offering to underwrite/guarantee the Renault contract yet Ms O’Keefe has stated this year that there was no guarantee to underwrite the contract … and Mr Adrian Lynch told the PAC was given verbally during a video link with NK Management.”

Decision to leave Late Late a personal decision: ‘wiped after Covid’ – said presenter

Mr Tubridy also spoke about his announcement in March to step down from the Late Late Show which he said, was purely for emotional and personal reasons. Like many others, he said, he had been totally ‘wiped’, simply exhausted after Covid. He thought about stepping down last year seriously, discussed it with family and close friends but finally decided to announce it in March, long before the payments debacle kicked off.

Regarding the create invoice instructions of RTÉ, Mr Kelly asked why would he think the instructions were not peculiar and presented in an odd fashion.

“RTÉ has a massive turnover of €350m per annum, and a huge number of financial advisors…Why would we suspect they were hiding their own payments!   We had no reason to doubt RTE … Ryan has continued to perform at the highest levels, and raised 10s of millions through the Toy Show. RTÉ is a hybrid organisation key to maintaining jobs and raising content. Why would be doubt it?

“Ryan and I, and our families have been the subject of abuse and he has been cast as the poster boy for this debacle. This is not the Ryan Tubridy scandal, this is the RTE scandal.”

The hearings continue.

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