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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
John Kierans

Inside RTE's €30,000 K Club bash for clients paid for using secret barter account

RTE spent between €20,000 and €30,000 on their famous K club golf bash exposed by the Dail Public Accounts Committee, we can reveal.

75 people, including those from the broadcaster and advertising clients, played at the posh event on May 27, 2019.

It is understood it was what is known as a shotgun start on the famous Ryder Cup course which means guests all take their designated place on the 18 tee boxes.

Read More: Leo Varadkar says some RTE payments 'may have been on the wrong side of the law'

Green fees were priced on the day at €175 per person which RTE paid for.

Guests were given lunch on arrival and later a full sit-down presentation dinner in the actual K Club hotel itself that night.

The food alone is believed to have cost between €100 to €150 per person.

The first incredible details of RTE's lavish entertainment client events were revealed during Thursday's committee meeting which left TDs shocked and angered by what they learned.

The K Club event was organised by the Commercial Director Geraldine O'Leary and paid through the infamous 'barter account".

The committee is still waiting for RTE Chief Financial Officer Richard Collins to come back to them with the exact cost.

But we can also disclose that 40 people attended the other controversial event mentioned at the PAC hearing - the U2 Joshua Tree Tour at Croke Park.

RTE execs appear at Oireachtas committee over payments scandal (Oireachtas TV)

Guests were brought for dinner at Twenty 2 Restaurant in Drumcondra which has since closed.

However, the Committee was furious when it heard RTE hired a bus to bring the clients from the restaurant to nearby Croke Park which is only a ten-minute walk away.

We have learned that RTE staff, along with some family and friends, attended the gig with advertisers, all paid for by the broadcaster.

They all had Premier Level seats in the stadium with top class views of the concert.

This event was again organised by Ms O'Leary who admitted to the Committee her husband had attended with her.

The RTE Media Sales Twitter Account on the day - July 22, 2017 - posted a picture of all the RTE guests posing in front of the bus.

All the U2 concert box office tickets, drinks and dinners, plus the bus were all paid through their secret slush fund barter account.

The PAC members are livid at the cost of such lavish events and that senior RTE executives seemingly tried to hide it.

One PAC source said last night: "There is entertainment in any business but what they did was way above the norm.

"They just spent big like any elite and didn't give a damn about going to the best places and the best events, both at home and abroad.

"We don't know how much the U2 concert cost but I'd say a small fortune when they brought 40 people.

"We will never understand why they couldn't just walk to Croke Park, there was no need for a bus.

"Remember this was all going on when RTE management were slashing pay, letting people go and running a bogus employment scam. It is shocking."

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