Ryan Tubridy has said that RTÉ is in his “rear-view mirror” in his first public interview since leaving the broadcaster in the summer.
It was revealed in the summer that RTÉ under-reported the salary paid to Mr Tubridy and failed to disclose €345,000 of additional payments to him between 2017 and 2022.
Earlier this week, he announced that he had joined Virgin Radio in London — with his new mid-morning show simulcasting on Dublin’s Q102 and he will present a dedicated Irish weekend show across Wireless Ireland stations, including Cork’s 96FM and Live 95 in Limerick.
Mt Tubridy said he “doesn’t see any reason to go back there [to RTÉ] because I am starting a new beginning here”.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying, ‘Oh, that place,’ because I had 20 years of lovely experience on TV in Ireland.”
He paid tribute to his former colleagues, saying: “I loved working in RTÉ. I worked with the best in the business in RTÉ. I had the best team in the business and they remained steadfast and loyal and kind, and I do miss them. I will always cherish my time there.”
Ahead of his new start, Mr Tubridy said his agent Noel Kelly “negotiated the best deal” for the presenter.
Mr Tubridy told the: “He is the best in the business and always was and he’s got on extremely well with the management here at Virgin. I’ve had a bunch of people around me, advising me in the last few months and they have been spectacular. And Noel is the best in the land.”
The comments from the formerpresenter come as RTÉ announced plans to cut its workforce by 20% as part of a new strategic reform plan. It includes plans to increase spending on independent productions and cut costs by €10m.
It has also introduced a plan to cap salaries for all RTÉ employees at €250,000, the salary of the director-general.
Mr Tubridy stood down ashost earlier this year but was continuing to present his weekday show on RTÉ Radio One when the controversy over incorrectly disclosed payments RTÉ made to him erupted in the summer.
At that point, negotiations over a new radio contract for Mr Tubridy were halted and he was taken off air amid the crisis that engulfed the organisation.
RTÉ director-general Kevin Bakhurst later re-entered negotiations with a view to securing Mr Tubridy’s return to the airwaves on a new contract but those talks broke down in August after the director-general claimed the presenter was not taking sufficient responsibility for his role in the payments controversy.
Mr Tubridy has insisted he was not overpaid by RTÉ, but rather RTÉ underdeclared his agreed remuneration.
Meanwhile, Mr Tubridy also confirmed that he would be relocated to London for his new Virgin Radio show.
“I’m relocating because I didn’t want to do a half-baked approach, coming and going (from Ireland) like that. I said if I am in, I’m in, and I think the team here in Virgin Radio respect that.”