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RTÉ’s Register of External Activities needed to restore public confidence – Cannon

29th August 2023 - Ciaran Cannon TD

The establishment of RTÉ’s Register of External Activities and a separate Register of Interests needs clear oversight and transparency to restore confidence, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Ciarán Cannon said clear reform is needed at the national broadcaster.

“I’m urging the Director General and the Board of RTÉ to be especially careful in how they manage and monitor this aspect of their reform programme.

“Making an external register as publicly accessible as possible would show real commitment to transparency within the organisation.

“Reports today suggest an RTÉ Register of External Activities, listing employees who receive approval for external work not under RTÉ’s remit, will be published on a quarterly basis. This is to be welcomed. It is a good step.

“The creation and management of this register will be seen by the public as a crucial first step along the road to full reform, and RTÉ simply has to get it right.

“If the BBC can make its register public, citing its availability as a key element of its reform process, then so should RTÉ,” Deputy Cannon said.

“It is crucial that RTÉ’s new Register of External Activities for any paid for external promotional or sponsorship work events undertaken by RTÉ on air staff be made available to the public,” he added.

Running concurrently with this, the national broadcaster is set to establish a Register of Interests to cover all staff and contractors. This will not be published, but will be subject to Freedom of Information.

Deputy Cannon said the Register of Interests, which may list personal details, needs proper governance and oversight.

“There are 1,800 people working at RTÉ and they, like every other citizen, are entitled to their privacy.

“Senior management must ensure this register is monitored properly in a fair and equitable way, unlike the previous cackhandedness which saw public finances mismanaged in a manner that shattered public trust in RTE,” Deputy Cannon added.

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