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New RTÉ chair vows to restore trust

The new chair of the RTÉ Board Terence O’Rourke has vowed to restore trust in the organisation.

Mr O’Rourke, a former KPMG managing partner, was appointed in March following the resignation of Siún Ní Raghallaigh.

In an address to RTÉ staff, Mr O’Rourke said he was delighted and honoured to be appointed as chair at what he described as an interesting time at RTÉ.

According to people who were at the staff meeting, he said that even if the events of last year had not occurred, RTÉ would still be facing some very significant challenges in a different media and digital world.

“We know there is trust to be restored, we know there are things that maybe weren’t done the right way and we have got to make sure we repair that,” Mr O’Rourke told staff.

“The job is underway but it is not going to be done overnight.”

At the same staff meeting, the Director General of RTÉ Kevin Bakhurst said that the broadcaster was currently experiencing a strong commercial performance but TV licence sales were “a bit up and down”.

He added that this tends to coincide with when RTÉ is in the news or before an Oireachtas Committee.

According to people who were at the meeting, Mr Bakhurst said they are expecting two expert reports, commissioned by the Minister for Media Catherine Martin, to be published in the first couple of weeks of May.

He said that RTÉ will soon be delivering its strategy document and five-year financial plan to the Minister.

Read more: Who is Terence O’Rourke: the new Chair of the RTÉ Board

Mr Bakhurst also referenced recent statements by politicians who indicated that a decision on public broadcasting funding will be made before the summer recess.

“My view is that everything is in place, this is the best chance we’ve had for many years of getting a public funding settlement that will secure the future of the organisation,” he said.

Staff were also given an update on the Department of Social Protection investigation into employment issues at RTÉ, something which is being discussed by the Oireachtas Media Committee today.

Mr Bakhurst said they are pushing ahead to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

Read more: RTÉ controversy was ‘devastating’ for staff, cttee hears

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