Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,


PAC fails to prick Tubridy’s story.

Having promised to provide box office viewing, today’s Public Accounts Committee failed to deliver meaningful answers to important questions.

By Conor O’Carroll

After three hours of questioning by the Public Accounts Committee, Ryan Tubridy and his agent, Noel Kelly, emerged largely unscathed following a failure by the committee to ask direct, pointed questions that reached the heart of the ongoing scandal.

Despite a long opening statement from Tubridy, it quickly became apparent that Kelly’s presence at the committee was to serve as a shield for his star talent. His insistence during his opening statement that “this is not the Ryan Tubridy scandal. This is the RTÉ scandal” is proof of that strategy.

At one stage, while a question was being posed to Tubridy, Kelly even interjected, requesting permission to answer on behalf of his client. However, his eagerness to defend Tubridy was premature, as Tubridy himself turned to him and said, “we don’t even know the question yet”.

Kelly later said that he “sees people as brands”, a stomach-turning equivalence that goes some way to explaining why he leapt to Tubridy’s defence at every opportunity. He was merely protecting brand Tubridy, hopeful no doubt that his star man will return to the airwaves in due course.

During the following quizzing from members of the committee, a common theme emerged where Tubridy attempted to absolve himself of all ethical and moral responsibility, pointing the finger at his agent, who then in turn pointed the finger at RTÉ.

While Kelly’s repeated answers of ‘we were just following RTÉ’s instructions’ bordered on unbelievable at times, the committee failed to bombard either witness with pointed follow-up questions.

The closest we came to a bruising came from Alan Dillon TD, who focused on one of the most pertinent outstanding questions: was Noel Kelly, and by extension Ryan Tubridy, complicit in the potential fraud raised by RTÉ former Chief Financial Officer in a Public Accounts Committee hearing two weeks ago.

However, Kelly resorted to the now tried and tested rebuttal, stating that “we were just following process…the lack of credibility is on RTÉ’s side”. Further questioning on the issue failed to move beyond this answer.

Questions regarding why the invoices were met by two different companies (both owned by Noel Kelly), and later why the tripartite deal was not signed by Noel Kelly Management until April this year, were left similarly unresolved.

The blame was laid squarely at the feet of RTÉ, with the insinuation being that Tubridy and Kelly were just pawns in the game of chess played by the executive board.

Kelly’s insistence that the tripartite agreement was “brokered by RTÉ” further attempts to disassociate both himself and Tubridy from the mess created as a result of this scandal.

Having been hyped up on social media as essential viewing since it was announced, today’s Public Accounts Committee failed to bring about answers to the remaining questions in this saga. Little was actually learnt about the details of the arrangement, and Kelly was largely permitted to reiterate the same response every time: It’s not us, it’s RTÉ.

Disappointingly, perhaps the most memorable exchange came right at the end when Chair of the committee Brian Stanley TD asked what Noel Kelly sold for Cadbury’s.

The laughter in the room and subsequent response on Twitter says it all about today’s hearing.