RTÉ publishes list of top on-air earners for 2017-2019

RTÉ has published the earnings of its top ten earners for 2017, 2018 and 2019, and noted that it has cut the pay of its highest earning presenters by 15% in 2020.

In all three years, Ryan Tubridy topped the list, followed by Ray D’Arcy and Joe Duffy.

In 2017, Ryan Tubridy earned €491,667. In second place was Ray D’Arcy, on €450,000, followed by Joe Duffy earning €398,738 and Sean O’Rourke with €321,071.

In fifth place was Marian Finucane in 2017 – who died last year – with earnings of €314,809.

She was followed by Miriam O’Callaghan on €299,000, Claire Byrne who earned €240,000, George Hamilton on €191,496, Darragh Maloney with €183,743 and Nicky Bryne on €182,400.

In 2018, Ryan Tubridy took home €495,000 and was again followed by Ray D’Arcy on €450,000.

Joe Duffy maintained third place with €404,988, with Marian Finucane fourth on €333,013. 

Fifth was Sean O’Rourke on €325,263, followed by Miriam O’Callaghan on €322,667 and Claire Byrne earning €250,000.

Brendan O’Connor came in eighth taking home €240,000, Bryan Dobson made €209,282 and George Hamilton completed the 2018 top ten with €192,796.

In 2019 – the most recent year revealed – Ryan Tubridy again earned €495,000, with Ray D’Arcy second on €450,000 and Joe Duffy in third place with €392,494.

Fourth was Marian Finucane who earned €358,013 followed by Sean O’Rourke on €327,988.

Miriam O’Callaghan again took sixth place with earnings of €320,000, followed by Claire Byrne with €250,000, Brendan O’Connor on €220,000, Bryan Dobson again on €209,282, and Mary Wilson entered the top ten earning €196,961.

In a statement, RTÉ stressed that it had reduced the earnings of its highest-paid presenters by 15% in 2020 as part of a range of cost-cutting measures announced last year.

The broadcaster also noted that total fees paid to RTÉ’s highest earning presenters represented less than 1% of RTÉ’s total operating costs.

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes acknowledged the role of the staff in question as crucial to RTÉ’s output during the pandemic, noting that audiences had turned to their national public media “in record numbers” for vital news, information, entertainment and companionship.

“They continue to make a significant contribution to public media in Ireland and enable RTÉ to optimise important commercial revenue, which is essential to support our public services,” Ms Forbes continued.

“RTÉ has reduced overall annual operating costs by over €100m since 2008, and last year targeted additional savings of €60m over three years, which we are on course to deliver. In that context, we continue to keep the fees of our highest-paid presenters under constant review,” she said.