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15th Sep 2023

Michael O’Leary lists shows he would scrap if he was running RTÉ

Stephen Porzio

The Ryanair CEO does not appear to be a fan of Joe Duffy.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has weighed in on the recent controversies surrounding RTÉ, revealing which of its shows he would scrap if he was in charge of the broadcaster.

The recently pied in the face O’Leary does not appear to be much of a fan of presenter Joe Duffy, citing his radio show Liveline and his “religious programmes” as examples of shows he would get rid of in an interview published on Thursday (14 September).

He made the comments after several members of the RTÉ Board were quizzed by the Oireachtas Committee on Media regarding the organisation’s finances on Wednesday.

The questions follow the revelations that emerged in June that the annual earnings of one of its star presenters, Ryan Tubridy, had been underreported.

Meanwhile, given the “steep fall in the licence fee and the uncertainty over interim funding”, RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst this week announced a stop to discretionary spending at the organisation, as well as a total recruitment freeze.

When asked by Sky News’ Ireland correspondent Stephen Murphy how he would “turn around” RTÉ, Michael O’Leary compared the Irish public service broadcaster to Aer Lingus in the ’80s – calling it “probably overstaffed” and “certainly badly run”.

While the Ryanair CEO said he would “clearly” like RTÉ to survive and praised its output in the area of news, he added: “There’s lots of areas in RTÉ that, frankly, if they disappeared tomorrow I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.”

Michael O’Leary on RTÉ

When asked what these were, O’Leary explained: “Watching EastEnders and repeats of Joe Duffy’s religious programmes. Liveline would be a good starting point.”

He also said: “If you look at the Claire Byrne programme in the morning, it’s terrific. Morning Ireland is a great radio programme.”

“But I always look at the Newstalk schedule. They do a great morning, Shane [Coleman] and Ciara [Kelly]. Pat Kenny does three hours then and I think he’s terrific.

“If you look at RTÉ, the morning programme is great, then Ryan Tubridy playing records for an hour, a complete waste of time.

“Why doesn’t Claire Byrne do three hours instead of two hours? And then they cut off to somebody else playing bloody records between 12pm and 1pm. Why doesn’t the lunchtime news do that?

“So there’s lots of efficiencies that you could I think impose in RTÉ, but there are a lot of very good people in RTÉ who do a very good job and I think this summer has been traumatic for them, but there’s also a lot of rubbish in there that needs to be cleaned out.”

Main image via Mark Stedman/