Dee Forbes Resigns From RTE Wi...


Dee Forbes Resigns From RTE With Immediate Effect

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Dee Forbes has announced she is resigning as Director General of RTE with immediate effect.

In a statement just issued, she says as Director General she is the person ultimately accountable for what happens within the organisation.

It follows the ongoing controversy surrounding the extra payments given to Ryan Tubridy.

Ms Forbes said there were a number of points she wanted to emphasise.

"In early 2020 RTÉ began discussions around the renewal of Ryan Tubridy’s contract," she said.

"That contract contained contractual payments that had been negotiated and put in place prior to my arrival at RTÉ.

"Discussions on the new contract were taking place in the context of major organisational challenges and a commitment from the RTÉ executive board to the board and the government to reduce the fees paid to RTÉ’s top talent by a further 15% overall as part of a wider cost cutting strategy.

"As Director-General, I led the discussions with the agent for Ryan Tubridy together with other RTÉ senior executives.

"We were keen to make a cost saving for RTÉ in respect of a contractual payment which was due to be paid.

"At the same time, we were attempting to retain Ryan Tubridy’s services as a valued presenter and negotiate a new contract, with the agreed 15% cost cutting target in mind.

"In an effort to find a solution to the budgetary challenges, we explored if a long serving commercial partner might take on a commercial relationship directly with Ryan Tubridy.

"Following detailed discussions including numerous internal communications over many months with RTÉ colleagues, including finance and legal colleagues, an agreement was reached which delivered cost savings for RTÉ.

"This agreement meant that the commercial partner would enter into a separate commercial contract with Ryan Tubridy for €75k in exchange for the provision of three events annually.

"As a result of the negotiated cost saving agreement, RTÉ would no longer be liable for a contractual payment that was due in 2020. This new commercial agreement required that RTÉ guarantee and underwrite the €75K payments.

"The commercial partner agreed to this new business relationship with Ryan Tubridy, but they required the change to be cost neutral, as they were in the final year of a three-year sponsorship contract and this was done by issuing a credit note for €75k against their airtime".

'One €75k payment'

Ms Forbes said pandemic restrictions meant this commitment could not be met in 2020 and 2021.

"I did not at any stage act contrary to any advice," she said.

"Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions meant that the commitment to the commercial client could not be met in 2020 and 2021 and was only delivered in 2022.

"The commercial partner informed us that the commercial arrangement was not going to work for them in the long-term.

"At this point, only one €75k payment had been made.

"Payment was sought for the 2021 and 2022 contractual commitments that now fell to RTÉ under the guarantee even though RTÉ had never expected to become liable for them and had not budgeted for them.

"Because of the commercial nature of the arrangement, it was decided to pay the invoices from the commercial barter account which was in credit.

"We were motivated purely by the need to find a solution to honour the contractual obligation."

'I am deeply sorry'

Ms Forbes said she and the representatives of RTÉ "acted in good faith" at all times.

"I fully accept and acknowledge responsibility for my part in these events as Director-General," she said.

"This statement is directed to the events of 2020-2022. I understand from media reports and RTÉ’s statement that the Board has raised questions concerning payments to Ryan Tubridy between 2017-2019. I have no knowledge of those payments and the board has not raised those questions with me"

Ms Forbes said while she has engaged fully with the board during this process "the board has not treated me with anything approaching the levels of fairness, equity and respect that anyone should expect as an employee, a colleague or a person".

"I am deeply sorry for what has happened and my part in this episode and for that I apologise unreservedly to everyone," she added.

''I care very deeply about RTÉ, the people who work for it, the public it serves, its mission, values, its unique position as a public service broadcaster and its reputation. I will continue to do so as RTÉ moves forward under the new Director General.''

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