Immediately following the announcement of Pat Kenny’s move to Newstalk, RTÉ Director General Noel Curran announced that the state broadcaster would be advertising upwards of 1000 new positions.
In a statement, Mr. Curran stated that: “While we are still reeling from the news that our long-time colleague Pat Kenny will be leaving us, we must focus on the positives. Chief among which, the salary space that is now available can be used to create over 1000 new positions within RTÉ – here at Donnybrook and nationwide.”
Taking questions following this announcement, Mr. Curran was asked if other RTÉ staff on the higher salary scale might be swiped away by competitors. With a shrug, Mr. Curran replied: “We can only hope… I mean, we’ve been trying to trade them off for years. We sent Ryan Tubridy over to the BBC for a week last year to see if they had any interest in him – that fell apart when they got to know him. We keep sending Marty Whelan to the Eurovision every year, but somehow he always manages to find his way back. Marian Finucane – Joe Duffy – Miriam O’Callaghan – Brendan O’Connor; no one else will have them – the women on Moore Street couldn’t trade this lot away…”
While details of the positions are still being developed, it has emerged that Mr. Kenny’s decision to leave followed a lengthy negotiation process with RTÉ chiefs. Mr. Kenny – noted for his staunch public defence of his earnings – chose to sign with Newstalk after numerous demands to improve his RTÉ contract were not met.
These included; returning Mr. Kenny’s salary to just under €1 million, a live fanfare from the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra for all of Mr. Kenny’s public appearances, a provision for RTÉ to cover the costs of cryogenically freezing Mr. Kenny in the event of his untimely death, and for Mr. Kenny to assume full ownership and trading-rights on all RTÉ staff earning under €30,000 per annum – extending to their first-born children.
TV License inspectors are said to be overjoyed at the news. One inspector confidentially noted that: “9 times out of 10, when someone refuses to pay their license fee, they point at Pat Kenny and say that ‘Good money is wasted on a dull p—k like him’, or ‘Why give that a——e another holiday on my hard-earned money?’, or ‘F—k that useless c—t, he’s a waste of space, I f—–g hate him and there’s no f—–g way I’m paying a f—–g cent of that b—–d’s wages’… they even say some cruel and unfair things too. But now that Mr. Kenny has moved on, we won’t have to deal with that complaint anymore.”
Reaction to Mr. Kenny’s departure from RTÉ has been mixed; many people have taken to social media to announce their delight at the news, while only regular listeners of Newstalk appear to be disappointed. Overall, little has changed for RTÉ with the departure of their top earner; the state broadcaster faces the same problem without Pat Kenny as they had while he worked there: an absence of personality.