Media Minister Catherine Martin must come before the Dáil and answer questions following the release of a damning statement by former RTE Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Murphy, who is the deputy chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:

“Ms Ní Raghallaigh’s damning statement raises a number of serious questions for the Minister, which urgently need to be clarified.

“For a start, Ms Ní Raghallaigh has suggested the Minister misrepresented her relationship with the former RTÉ Chair at the Oireachtas Media Committee when she said she had “monthly meetings” with her.

“According to Ms Ní Raghallaigh, these meetings did not happen. In fact, she only had a “handful” of meetings with the Minister during her 15-month tenure as Chair.

“There is also a suggestion that the Minister misrepresented Ms Ní Raghallaigh’s recollection of her phone call with the Minister’s former secretary general, when the issue of Richard Collins’ exit package was raised.

“The Minister suggested Ms Ní Raghallaigh, in conversations with her officials in February, was unsure if she had mentioned the sign off from the remuneration committee when she spoke to the secretary general in October. Ms Ní Raghallaigh reiterates in her statement that she is certain that she did.

“Ms Ní Raghallaigh also states that, on the fateful day of the Minister’s Prime Time appearance, a “plan was afoot” and the “letter [issued by the Minister to the former chair) was being dictated by the upcoming Prime Time interview as anything surrounding clarification about the Collins’ case”.

“In other words, the Minister was cognisant she had a prominent media appearance that evening and issued the letter as some kind of prop to help her through it.

“Ms Ní Raghallaigh also raises an important issue that has never been clarified by the Minister. Why did she only develop an interest in exit packages for senior RTE executives five months after they had been agreed and her Department notified of them?

“The only obvious conclusion is that those packages became an issue of public controversy in February and the Minister decided to throw the Chair under the bus to mask her own failings to keep on top of the situation.

“In a devastating critique, Ms Ní Raghallaigh bluntly states the Minister “actively” adopted a “hands-off approach” while delegating responsibility to her officials.

“That hands-off attitude – and delegation to Oireachtas Committees and various expert groups – has been obvious, even to outsiders, throughout this debacle.

“It is also extremely serious that vacancies on the RTÉ board, which Ms Ní Raghallaigh brought to the Minister’s attention as far back as August, were left unfilled. Particularly in circumstances where the organisation had lost its CFO and there was no person with financial expertise on the Board.

“The Minister now has serious questions to answer about whether she misled an Oireachtas Committee in an effort to scapegoat Ms Ní Raghallaigh and damage her reputation. The Minister must come before the Dáil and answer questions as a matter of urgency.”


4 March, 2024

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