Tubgate Word on the Week 1st July 2023.
At first we thought RTE, our public service broadcaster, had got its numbers wrong when publicising the salary paid to its star performer, Ryan Tubridy. An error perhaps caused out of embarrassment at the enormity of the sums required to retain his services. How wrong we were!
Ryan stepped back from the conversation. After all he was not responsible for the way RTE doled out information on the salaries of its top brass. In addition, he had resigned a week or two before the scandal broke!
As is usual in these matters we were only looking at the tip of the iceberg. The Director General, perhaps the best equipped to take us to the murky waters below, also resigned! In addition, she turned down the invitation to account for the discrepancies pleading ill health.
Items have surfaced during the week telling of a Barter Account which made ex gratia payments in the form of loyalty bonuses, trips to matches and new cars. This account was completely outside RTE’s normal financial controls having outgoings invoiced as ‘consultancy’!
How the Barter Account, or slush fund as it has come to be known, was itself funded remains something of a mystery but the public who fund RTE through licence fees and taxes are fairly clear that it came out of their pockets!
When your salary is being overpaid by a six figure amount over a period of years as Tubridy’s was you would have thought he would have remarked upon it. It appears that greed is insidious in that it goes largely unnoticed.
Tim Keller, who recently went to glory, illustrated this fact by contrasting the sin of greed with adultery. He remarked that no one ever says “Oh, you are not my wife” whereas greed invariably has to be brought to the attention of those guilty of it.
In the Bible the sin of greed is listed in a number of places alongside adultery as in 1 Corinthians 6 verses 9 to 11. Elsewhere, Jesus warned against covetousness in the parable of the rich fool. In it He pointed out that our life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions but in the richness of our relationship with God (St Luke 12 verses 13 to 21).
It does not come easily to draw attention to something which will penalise you. In fact, doing the ‘right thing’ often requires a lot of backbone. Usually it is deferred until silence means consent! In the Bible’s demonstration of sin bearing, carried out on the cross, it cost Jesus his life. He did the heavy lifting. We only need to abandon our sin and greed and entrust our life to him (2 Corinthians 5 verse 21).