Something doesn’t add up in execution of Tubridy axe

World of Politics with Harry McGee

When the Democratic Unionist Party was coming under pressure to do the unthinkable and go into Government with Sinn Féin almost 20 years ago, its leader Ian Paisley came up with a resonant phrase.

Before he would even consider going in with Sinn Fein, he said, the Republican Party would have to repent for all the violence and murder carried out by the IRA.

“They must wear sackcloth and ashes,” said Paisley.

He repeated many times: “Sackcloth and ashes”.

I was reminded of the phrase when I came back to work from holidays over the course of the weekend.

I hadn’t been following the latest twists in the RTE payments controversy the previous week. I knew the Grant Thornton report had been published but had not followed the lead-up to it.

I also knew that Ryan Tubridy had issued a statement saying he was more or less vindicated by the report. Again I did not pay too much attention to it.

I sat bolt upright though – just like everybody else in the country – when I discovered that RTE director general Kevin Bakhurst had guillotined the negotiations, not to mention Tubridy’s future with the broadcaster he called home throughout his professional life.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact trigger for the Bakhurst’s decision to end the negotiation. In the statement and email he sent to staff he said the negotiations had ‘broken down’ and signalled a lack of trust between the parties.

It seemed that part of that stemmed from the statement Tubridy issued after the Grant Thornton report was published. Tubridy himself said it was an “anodyne” statement. In many ways it was. Grant Thornton reiterated what was already known that the public understatement of Tubridy’s salary between 2017 and 2019 had nothing to do with him but was something RTÉ had done. A statement welcoming the findings from a party involved is very standard in all walks of life.

Pictured: Ryan Tubridy…vindication came at a huge price.

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