RTE’s Sharon gets equal-pay prom­ise but wants to quit ‘Six One’

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Front Page - Ni­amh Horan EX­CLU­SIVE

TWO months af­ter the gen­der pay gap furore, un­cer­tainty still hangs over RTE on who will take over from Bryan Dob­son when he moves to Morn­ing Ire­land on Oc­to­ber 30.

News­caster Sharon Ni Bhe­o­lain has been asked to stay on the Six One News and has re­ceived con­crete as­sur­ances on equal pay and sta­tus.

Both news­cast­ers in the new line-up will share the bul­letin and there will be no lead an­chor. How­ever, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent has learned that Ms Ni Bhe­o­lain is anx­ious to move on af­ter 23 years as the face of RTE News.

It fol­lows our rev­e­la­tion that the pay gap between the fe­male co-an­chor and Mr Dob­son con­tro­ver­sially stood at more than €80,000 a year.

Now ques­tions re­main over the fu­ture of Ms Ni Bhe­o­lain in the news­cast­ing role on the Six One News.

The news pre­sen­ter has made it known she would like to move on.

This week­end a source told the news­pa­per: “It’s well known that Sharon has been ask­ing for a change.”

He said: “She has made it known she would pre­fer to re­main be­hind the cam­era for a while to con­cen­trate on fea­tures and doc­u­men­taries.

“She has been in the same po­si­tion for over two decades, so nat­u­rally she is long­ing for change.”

So far no suit­able can­di­date from RTE’s news and cur­rent af­fairs de­part­ment has agreed to take on Mr Dob­son’s role.

TWO months af­ter the gen­der pay gap con­tro­versy erupted at RTE, sta­tion bosses are still in a deep quandary over the re­vamp of TV news.

The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent re­vealed eight weeks ago that Bryan Dob­son is mov­ing to Morn­ing Ire­land, but un­cer­tainty still hangs over the RTE news­room.

Mr Dob­son will make the move to Morn­ing Ire­land on Oc­to­ber 30. It is still not known who will take his place. Claire Byrne, Ray Kennedy and David McCul­lagh have all now been ruled out of the run­ning, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent un­der­stands.

It is be­lieved news­caster Sharon Ni Bhe­o­lain has been asked to stay on and has re­ceived con­crete as­sur­ances on equal pay and sta­tus.

But the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent has learned she is anx­ious for a change — though still wants to stay with the na­tional broad­caster.

Both news­cast­ers in the new line-up will now share the bul­letin and there will be no lead an­chor.

The news comes af­ter the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent re­vealed the pay gap between Mr Dob­son and his fe­male co-an­chor con­tro­ver­sially stood at up to €80,000 a year.

But ques­tions still re­main over the fu­ture of Ms Ni Bhe­o­lain in the news­cast­ing role on the Six One News.

The news­caster has made it known she would like to move on. This week­end a source told the news­pa­per: “It’s well known in the news­room that Sharon has been ask­ing for a change for the last few years.

“For a long time she has been ask­ing man­age­ment to re­lease her from Six One news­reader du­ties. She has made it known she wants to step away from the cam­eras af­ter 23 years in the spot­light.

“She would pre­fer to re­main be­hind the cam­era for a while, to con­cen­trate on fea­tures and doc­u­men­taries. She has been in the same po­si­tion for over two decades, so nat­u­rally she is long­ing for change.”

As far back as 2013, Sharon gave an in­ter­view to the RTE Guide in which the pre­sen­ter said that, while she en­joyed work­ing in TV news, she was “ready for some­thing new”.

Asked if she would be pre­sent­ing the Six One for life, she was can­did in her de­sire for change: “It’s been a very en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence, but I’m look­ing for some­thing new.”

An RTE spokesper­son said the sta­tion does not com­ment on in­di­vid­ual pay. On Ni Bhe­o­lain’s role, they said: “Sharon con­tin­ues to present the news. Any­thing be­yond that would be spec­u­la­tion.”

Mean­while, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent has also learned that so far no suit­able can­di­date from RTE’s news and cur­rent af­fairs de­part­ment has agreed to take on Mr Dob­son’s (pic­tured left) va­cant pre­sent­ing po­si­tion.

Mr Dob­son is among RTE’s top 10 earn­ers, with an an­nual salary of €195,816 in 2014. Other high earn­ers at the tax­payer-funded na­tional broad­caster in­clude Ryan Tubridy, Joe Duffy and Derek Mooney.

TIME FOR CHANGE? Sharon Ni Bhe­o­lain is be­lieved to be look­ing for a move be­hind the cam­era

Ni­amh Horan STILL LOOK­ING: David McCul­lagh, Claire Byrne and Ray Kennedy have all been ruled out

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