A sizeable number of Today FM’s listeners may have been disappointed over Ray D’Arcy’s surprise move to RTÉ but one Mayo Deputy was particulary irked by the return of the top rated presenter to the station where he first made his name in the ‘90s.
And it has nothing to do with Deputy John O’Mahony’s morning radio preferences.
He has instead hit out at the rumours of D’Arcy’s new €500,000 salary with the national broadcaster.
Deputy O’Mahony said the reported fat pay packet comes at a time when RTÉ is planning to axe its long wave service in the New Year to save €250,000, a move which he believes will cut off the Irish diaspora abroad who have been using the long wave service for years to tune into their favourite shows and GAA games back home.
“In my opinion, this flies in the face of true public service broadcasting,” said the south Mayo representative.
“RTÉ has not disclosed the exact amount to be paid to the high profile broadcaster, Ray D’Arcy. There are reports that the sum is as large as €500,000. We won’t know exactly until 2017, but suffice it to say that each year Ray D’Arcy will be earning more than it costs to run the long wave service, a service that benefits thousands of Irish people living abroad.”
“This Government has appointed a Minister for the Diaspora and, at the same time, one of the main state agencies is planning to cut off our diaspora. I find this not only ironic but unfair and unacceptable,” said O’Mahony.
Deputy O’Mahony is now calling on RTÉ to reverse their decision and continue the long wave service for the benefit of thousands of Irish people living in the UK.
“There are over 400,000 first-generation alone living in Britan,” he continued. “Older people in particular rely on long wave to keep in touch with news and current affairs in Ireland. Many Irish emigrants use long wave to listen to GAA matches from home, and for some it is their last connection with Ireland.”
Deputy O’Mahony said providing a service for these thousands of people who have been loyal RTÉ listeners all of their lives is more important than ‘colossal salaries’ for individual presenters.