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Home / News / Siún Ní Raghallaigh resigns as Chairperson of RTÉ Board

Siún Ní Raghallaigh resigns as Chairperson of RTÉ Board

Siún Ní Raghallaigh has resigned as Chair of the RTÉ Board.

She said her position was “no longer tenable” because it was “abundantly clear” she had lost the confidence of the Minister for Media Catherine Martin.

The minister had earlier appeared on RTÉ’s Prime Time where she refused to express confidence in Ms Ní Raghallaigh.

Ms Martin said she had sought a meeting with the Chair of the RTÉ Board after being “misinformed” by her on two occasions this week in regard to Board approval of recent exit packages.

“This morning, in a communication through my officials, it was made known to me that the package for Richard Collins went before the Renumeration Committee so there was a process there where the Board had approval,” she said.

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The minister said she was “deeply disappointed” and had sought a meeting with the Chair to discuss this.

In her statement, Ms Ní Raghallaigh said: “It is abundantly clear from statements today, and in particular last night’s Prime Time broadcast, that I no longer have the confidence of the Minister in my role as Chair of the Board of RTÉ and that, as such, my position is no longer tenable.”

“This evening, after consultation with the Board and Director General Kevin Bakhurst, I have decided to resign from my position.”

A spokesperson confirmed that she would no longer be meeting with Ms Martin this morning. Mr Bakhurst, in a statement, said Ms Ní Raghallaigh had been “an excellent Chair” who would be “sorely missed”.

He said she had been a “great support to me throughout an incredibly challenging time for RTÉ”.

He added: “Without Siún’s experience, insight, guidance and optimism, beginning the process of meaningfully transforming RTÉ would have been a bigger challenge.”

He praised “her integrity, hard work, commitment to public service”.

Ms Ní Raghallaigh, in her statement, said she had not made an “intentional misrepresentation” to Ms Martin.

She said: “Under the new terms of reference of the Remuneration Committee of the RTÉ Board, all changes to executive pay and terms must be approved by committee.

“This was introduced as part of a wide range of measures to strengthen controls and fully restore public trust in corporate governance at RTÉ.

“Kevin Bakhurst brought the exit of Rory Coveney from RTÉ (announced on Sunday 9th July) to my attention, while the exit of Richard Collins was brought to and approved by the Remuneration Committee of the Board of RTÉ on October 9th 2023.

Siún Ní Raghallaigh with Kevin Bakhurst ahead of a previous meeting with the minister

“I informed the Department about the process which led to Richard’s departure from RTÉ, on October 10th, the day after it was approved at the Remuneration Committee.

“I met with the Minister and her officials, with the Director General, on two occasions for more than three hours this week, dealing with multiple questions across a wide range of issues.

“I was asked if the Board knew about the exit packages for Rory Coveney and Richard Collins. I said that I was aware of them, but they had not come before the full Board.

“However, I neglected to recollect that Richard Collin’s exit package did go before the Renumeration Committee.”

She continued: “This was not an intentional misrepresentation, and I subsequently contacted the Department to clarify the details and remind them that I had previously appraised them of the matter in October.”

Ms Ní Raghallaigh’s statement concluded: “Serving as Chair of the RTÉ Board is a privilege which requires the confidence of the Minister. It is abundantly clear that I no longer do.

“My resignation is a source of sadness to me, but it is unavoidable.

“There is a very urgent need for the funding model of RTÉ to be restored and for the transformation process to continue apace. I do not want this matter to distract from that. That must remain our unswerving collective objective.”

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