Guest presenters on RTE series No Frontiers do get paid for the privilege of reporting from some of the most exotic spots in the world, the Herald can reveal.
However, the national broadcaster has staunchly defended the payments made, insisting they earn every cent thanks to an intensive shooting schedule.
RTE confirmed that guest presenters on the programme receive a payment for their stint on No Frontiers, which sees them filming in some of the most beautiful and highly sought-after destinations around the world. Despite their wondrous surroundings, RTE insisted that each presenter works intensively for the programme -- and has no time for sight-seeing.
On average, a guest presenter will spend four days working for No Frontiers. The first day consists of travel, with 20 hours filming scheduled for the next two days, and a fourth day is also spent on travel.
Such an intensive schedule does not allow for relaxation, says RTE, who commission the award-winning series from independent Frontier Films.
"This does not allow any time for leisure, sight-seeing or whatever. The itinerary and filming schedule is arranged in advance and the guest presenters spend all their time with the production team," the spokesperson added.
Citing commercial sensitivity and the fact that the holiday programme is produced by Frontier and not RTE itself, the broadcaster said it could not provide details of how much guest presenters were paid, and what expenses were involved and claimed under Freedom of Information laws.
"No Frontiers is a programme commissioned by RTE from the independent production company Frontier Films," RTE said.
"RTE regards the details of the budgets of productions as commercially sensitive as companies are competing for commissions and information about individual programmes' budgets could influence that process," the spokesperson concluded.
Each week No Frontiers, which is presented by Kathryn Thomas, features at least two guest presenters.
Upcoming instalments will see chef Kevin Thornton and his wife visiting Scotland, Failte Towers presenter Baz Ashmawy in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, and Aoibhinn Ni Shuileabhain travelling to Slovenia.