Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

RTE 'could not match' Kenny offer

Television presenter Pat Kenny is set to leave RTE

Veteran RTE anchor Pat Kenny got a pay package from rival station Newstalk that the State broadcaster could not meet, it has emerged.

The popular television and radio presenter shocked fans and others nationwide with the announcement of his immediate departure after 40 years at the station.

Kenny begins a new mid-morning current affairs show on Newstalk - owned by billionaire media mogul Denis O'Brien - in September.

But RTE's second highest-paid broadcaster denied he was lured to the rival by money alone.

"I had two offers on the table. The money was not the overriding factor at all," Kenny insisted.

"RTE made me a very generous offer to continue. But I weighed it up and discussed it with my family and they kind of detected the enthusiasm I had for fundamental change."

The 65-year-old was forced to cut his salary with RTE to 630,000 euro in recent years, down 34% from the 950,976 euro he was paid in 2008. He was due to take another substantial reduction when his contract came up for renewal this year as the station came under attack over presenter fees.

RTE director general Noel Curran revealed every effort was made to retain Kenny's services but that he got an offer from Newstalk that RTE "could not match".

"We wanted to hold on to him, we entered in to protracted negotiations, but we just couldn't come to an agreement," said Mr Curran.

"As part of the negotiation we made an offer and that offer was as far as we felt we could go."

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