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Ten RTÉ exits ‘did not satisfy redundancy requirements’

A report by a legal firm appointed by RTÉ to conduct a review of voluntary exit packages has found that ten departures did not satisfy the requirements of a redundancy within the meaning of the Redundancy Payments Acts.

In these cases, under the 2017 Voluntary Exit Programme, McCann Fitzgerald said that Revenue Commissioners may take the view that RTÉ should not have applied a tax exemption to these redundancy payments.

“While the reasons for this varied and included roles that needed to be backfilled within a short period of time, the Revenue Commissioners may take the view that RTÉ should not have applied the tax exemption applicable to statutory redundancy payments to the payments received by some or all of these individuals,” the report found.

“This will however be a matter for the Revenue Commissioners to determine. The total amount of statutory redundancy sums paid to these ten individuals was €223,010,” it states.

In relation to an exit package for RTÉ’s former Chief Financial Officer Breda O’Keeffe not being brought before the broadcaster’s executive board, the review found that Ms O’Keeffe made a business case for her departure that was discussed between her and former Director General Dee Forbes.

A spokesperson for Ms Forbes has said her situation has not changed and that she “isn’t in a position to comment” on the findings of the McCann Fitzgerald review of RTÉ’s voluntary exit programmes.

This business case was based on an existing employee being appointed to the role of chief financial officer, leading to a cost saving to RTÉ of around €200,000 a year.

Ultimately, the job ended up being advertised externally.

“By November 2019, the outcome of the CFO recruitment process was known, and it was clear that the cost savings envisaged in the former chief financial officer 2012-2020’s business case would not be made,” the report found.

It also concluded that Ms O’Keeffe’s application was not considered and approved by the RTÉ Executive Board as was required under the rules of the 2017 Voluntary Exit Programme (VEP).

The report accepted that this failure to comply with the terms of the scheme rested solely with RTÉ and not with Ms O’Keeffe.

“In these circumstances, we are satisfied that the approval process for the 2017 VEP was not complied with by RTÉ,” the report found.

“The absence of an opportunity to meet with the former director general, for medical reasons, has inhibited our ability to understand why her application was not put before the executive board for approval,” it added.

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