Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee Matt Carthy TD has told the Committee that RTÉ has an obligation to publish how much it has paid the Revenue Commissioners if it is to maintain its integrity, reputation and ability to investigate and challenge others.
It was revealed at the Committee last month that RTÉ had made an ‘initial payment’ to the Revenue Commissioners on the foot of the Eversheds Sutherland report, which found a number of contractors at RTÉ had attributes ‘akin to employment.’
When questioned as to the amount paid at that hearing, Teachta Carthy described the response of RTÉ that the information was ‘not to hand’ as unfortunate.
Upon reviewing supplementary written answers provided by RTÉ at the Committee today, Teachta Carthy said:
“RTÉ have made what we know to be an initial payment to the Revenue Commissioners as a result of their own questionable employment practices.
“They now maintain that, per the terms of their voluntary qualifying disclosure, the amount has not been made publicly available.
“They go on to reference an ongoing process with the Revenue, as well as a parallel audit by the Department of Social Protection.
“Revealing the amount that has already been paid would in no way impede ongoing matters.
“Anyone who is familiar with these types of settlements will be aware that there is nothing to prevent RTÉ in making a voluntary disclosure to the public as to what they have already paid.
“RTÉ is a semi-state in that they are largely funded by what is effectively a compulsory charge on households.
“They are unique in that they are charged with investigating issues of public interest through their news and current affairs output.
“It is therefore imperative that they employ full transparency in these areas – their approach to the Public Accounts Committee to date has been disappointing and worrying.
“RTÉ are currently running a campaign titled ‘Truth Matters.’ Members of the Oireachtas Committee on Public Accounts would welcome if RTÉ delivered on this principle – they can start by revealing how much they’ve paid to the Revenue Commissioners.”