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RTÉ Chair apologises over musical

The Chair of the RTÉ Board Siún Ní Raghallaigh has expressed confidence in members of the current RTÉ Board who sat on the board when corporate governance failings occurred in relation to Toy Show The Musical.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, Ms Ní Raghallaigh also reiterated her apology to the public and to RTÉ staff for what happened, and denied that the members involved would resign.

“I have every confidence in the board members. There is collective responsibility here not just on the part of the board but also on the Executive, and we accept the collective responsibility.

“These board members were there at the time, but I have every confidence in them,” she said.

She added: “I want to assure everyone of the work that we have been doing to make sure that something like this never happens again, and I think we have done that,” she said.

Ms Ní Raghallaigh said the Grant Thornton report was a factual and independent report asking “basic, simple questions”.

The report found that there was no record of board approval being sought for the venture.

“That is just not acceptable. The processes … there were no processes engaged and the governance was not even there, so this was just not acceptable how this happened.”

When asked about the informal ‘combo meeting’ that took place about the project, she said only certain board members were invited.

“In the context of this, the combo meeting and such events as that kind of points to the dysfunctionality of the relationship between what was then called the Executive Board and the Board, and this is how it is manifesting itself in the selection of certain members of the board to attend what I think was termed as a presentation…”

She said only certain people were invited to the meeting, adding: “I think there were six people invited and only five attended.”

“There were no documents supplied beforehand so that those attending would understand what it was that they were looking at and people did not know anything about this.”

She said the previous chair would have been aware of the project before this point.

The people who spoke with the Grant Thorton team are anonymized in the report. “There are reasons behind it,” she said, “and that is set out in the report itself.”

She said the musical did come to the audit and risk committee, but it was after the event.

“I go back to the level of information that was shared, how things were presented… nobody is not owning that things should have been done differently, and this is why we have put certain things in place to ensure that such an event will not happen again, projects getting commenced without proper authorisation.”

There are still members of the RTÉ Board who were active during this period.

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