QUILTY’s Marty Morrissey has revealed he is the RTÉ broadcaster that had the loan of a Renault car for five years.
Following questioning from Clare Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) during a sitting of the Oireachtas Media Committee, acting Director General with RTÉ Adrian Lynch was asked if there were any brand ambassadors with a loaned car who was also in receipt of a car allowance from RTÉ.
In response, Mr Lynch said they were “going through a process now” of checking that information. “I’m aware of one instance where somebody had a loan of a car…my understanding is that car has been returned and that individual is a staff member of RTÉ.”
When asked for how long they had the car, he said for five years, before adding “that was not approved.” He said the car was returned on Monday.
In a statement on Thursday, Marty Morrissey confirmed that he was the staff member who had been loaned the car. He said he was asked to MC a number of events for Renault in 2017, which he received permission for from RTÉ and he “did not seek a fee for this engagement”.
“In the interests of openness and transparency, I would like to address certain questions that have been raised over recent days,” Morrissey said in a lengthy statement.
“I am Sports reporter and commentator concentrating exclusively on GAA. In light of recent events, one potential issue did come into focus. In 2017 I was asked to MC a series of functions in Renault garages across the country. This involved me interviewing several high-profile GAA personalities. As was required of me, I sought RTÉ permission at the time to do this. This permission was granted. I did not seek a fee for this engagement. I saw it as GAA related, interacting with former players who I knew well. Many of the GAA related engagements I do, I do at no cost.
“As I hadn’t sought a fee, Renault offered me the use of a car. I accepted the this offer. The situation carried over informally for a number of years. I ended up MCing about 12 such events. Since the recent controversy within RTÉ arose, I reflected on this matter. I concluded that it had been an error of judgement on my part to accept the use of the car. I returned it voluntarily to Renault on Friday 23rd June”.
Morrissey said he has apologised to RTÉ, his managers and colleagues “for any embarrassment” and to listeners who “may feel let down by my actions”.
Much focus and criticism has been centred on RTÉ since a payments scandal with ex Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy emerged in the past fortnight.