It does not look like the ongoing saga around RTÉ’s mismanagement of figures and lack of transparency with regards to Ryan Tubridy’s salary is going to end anytime soon. I acknowledge that there are many more issues that RTÉ must also put right.
The Prime Time interview with Kevin Backhurst laid out the reasons why negotiations with Ryan had ended. He was frank in his answers. It is clear that Ryan made a catastrophic mistake in not keeping his counsel during the protracted and delicate negotiations.
Any facilitator guiding negotiations will tell you to keep your mouth firmly shut if you are discussing a pay rise or improved working conditions, or if you’re trying to get a job or get yourself reinstated in a position. Confidentiality is part of negotiation and a priority requisite for any business dealings. Following the completion of the negotiation comes full and honest disclosure according to the rules of the organisation.
The public have always supported RTÉ, the public broadcaster, through the licence fee and that loyalty should have ensured that statements put into the public domain were correct. Trust was broken so many times during the RTÉ story and the relationship with the public was seriously damaged. At present, we are still not sure of where the truth lies.
Many statements are still in conflict with each other. Yet, I believe that the public would like to see RTÉ get its affairs in order and to know that all staff are being remunerated properly and to get back to providing news and quality programmes. There are many lessons to be learned from the last few months of turmoil within RTÉ. It is a time for all public bodies to take a long hard look at how things are done. This will only come about by good people asking hard questions.
I think that it is a very sad reflection on our society in general that people knowingly set out to rob the bank.
Taking a back seat
Due to my cancer treatment, I’ve had to suspend or terminate my involvement on various committees. It’s easy to have hindsight, but when I stand back and evaluate my voluntary involvement, I realise that I had probably taken on too much. Board representation is a huge responsibility and one that demands that you interrogate corporate governance and every financial decision that is made regarding the organisation that you serve. It demands that you actively examine policy direction and make your views known to the rest of the members.
We have so many farmer representatives on our various agricultural bodies and co-operatives and they are giving us thoughtful and quality service. They are also spending valuable time representing our interests. It is imperative that they are equipped with the training to do the job required.
I would encourage farmers to get involved and to never be afraid to ask a question. There is no such thing as a stupid question. If you want to ask it, you can be sure that other people in the room want to ask it, too. If you don’t feel you have the knowledge in a certain area, then ask for training. Putting oneself forward for election or appointment onto a committee or a board is not easy and is never done lightly. At the end of the day, that is what leadership is all about.
The latest story about the technical glitch at Bank of Ireland that caused €1,000 to appear in some accounts has left me reeling. It is not the glitch that has left me stunned, but the way some people reacted to it. It does not matter that banks are not liked by people. What is at issue is that people saw an opportunity to get at this money in the full knowledge that it did not belong to them.
They planned it and executed the plan. The €1,000 was transferred into other accounts and then withdrawn at ATMs. Queues of people formed. The Gardaí had to be called. It beggars belief.
I think that it is a very sad reflection on our society in general that people knowingly set out to rob the bank. Then, we had people in leadership roles advocating on the radio that these people needed help to pay this money back.
We will continue to watch how the RTÉ story develops, even if we are bored of it. We will continue to wonder if Ryan Tubridy will be back on air. If the bank glitch teaches us anything, it is to always read our statements because banks do make mistakes.