How the bad lad Dunphy turned hero with pay cut
CRUNCH: Loudmouth broadcaster takes €33k reduction in salary and shows up RTE giants
Who would have thought it? Eamon Dunphy, the enfant terrible of the Irish media scene, steps forward to provide an example of national leadership to us all by taking a pay cut for the sake of the country.
Dunphy confirmed yesterday that, in the interests of the economy, he will take a 10 per cent cut in his €330,000 salary.
That reduction of €33,000 is hefty and contrasts well with the greed of many fat cats, in the financial services in particular, who earn multiples of what Dunphy earns but who have grasped at every cent they can get their hands on -- and will go on grasping for as long as they are allowed.
Where, I wonder, does this leave his well-paid colleagues in RTE? Miriam O'Callaghan and Derek Mooney had already signalled that they would be prepared to take a pay cut if this was required.
But neither they nor Dunphy earn anything approaching the figures enjoyed by the two seniors -- Gerry Ryan and Pat Kenny, two of my favourite broadcasters, I might add.
Ryan's radio show even satirised himself and Kenny in yesterday's Nob Nation segment suggesting he would try to get out of taking a pay cut by broadcasting for longer but without charging extra for it.
Nob Nation also portrayed Kenny as contributing to the economy by doing a nixer for free in the RTE canteen -- to the dismay of all who preferred their full Irish breakfast to the delicacies favoured by the Kenny palate.
Joking aside, though, I expect Messers Ryan, Kenny and perhaps a few others have been glancing rather fretfully at the news that Dunphy has led the charge.
Dunphy has modestly said that, in doing what he has done, he is not suggesting that anybody should follow in his footsteps. All the same, his action has increased the pressure on the high-rollers to follow suit.
And what an unexpected move it was.
This is Dunphy the playboy, Dunphy the big mouth, Dunphy the bad lad coming along and turning down €33,000 which might well have paid for his next trip to the races in France.
But I wonder if Dunphy the playboy etc is actually a figment of our imaginations?
Do you remember when Dunphy took over the early morning show on Newstalk 106?
He won't manage it, everybody said, he'll never get up in the morning, he'll still be partying away while the signature tune is playing.
Didn't work like that, did it? Dunphy turned up for work and ran a competent and engaging if highly opinionated programme which was often a joy to listen to.
And now he comes along and does this.
Could it be that the real Eamon Dunphy is in fact a responsible, sober, serious citizen but whose livelihood depends on giving the impression he is the opposite?
What next? Will Dunphy lead penitential pilgrimages to Lough Derg, perhaps with Miriam O'Callaghan and Derek Mooney in tow, to get us into the mood for austerity?
There the three of them can do the traditional penitential practice, walking barefoot around the island all night for three nights with nothing to drink but black tea.
Meanwhile, Kenny and Ryan look uneasily on from their luxuriously appointed studios in Montrose and wonder what they need to do to win back the hearts of the plain people of Ireland.
Dunphy's is a gesture to be appreciated rather than denigrated.
Let's hope RTE doesn't spend the money on something silly like another series of Failte Towers (in fact I am prepared to contribute to a collection to raise enough money to buy the series and tow it out to sea).
And finally, may I just announce that I am so inspired by Dunphy's move that I intend to follow suit.
As soon as my income reaches €330,000 I, too, will be taking a 10 per cent cut.