Government party leaders are fully behind the media minister Catherine Martin and her handling of the latest RTE scandal, the Minister for Public Expenditure has said.

The Minister for Media will on Tuesday face an Oireachtas committee to answer questions on the resignation of Siun Ni Raghallaigh, the chairwoman of the RTE board.

Ms Ni Raghallaigh resigned some hours after Ms Martin refused to express confidence in her as head of the RTE board during an interview on Prime Time.

The minister said she had been misinformed on two occasions about Ms Ni Raghallaigh’s involvement in approving an exit package for a former RTE executive.

RTE pay revelations
Cabinet ministers have backed their colleague Catherine Martin despite calls for her to step down (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Martin has faced criticism from the opposition and from some members of the media Oireachtas committee about comments she made on live TV last Thursday.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said party leaders were aware of the issue about the exit package ahead of the interview.

He also said that he “absolutely supports” the minister.

“My understanding is that the party leaders were aware of this as an important issue. I don’t expect they were aware of the detail of the interview,” he added.

“I don’t think it’s possible that our party leaders can be aware of the detail of any potential questions. But all of them in the aftermath of the interview have affirmed their full support for Minister Martin as I do again here today.”

He added: “I absolutely support Minister Martin. Minister Martin, in my time working with her in recent years, has firstly been a great champion for RTE and a great champion for the importance of public service broadcasting.

“But she also, in parallel to that, has spared no effort in dealing with issues that are of great public concern.

“She has always been transparent. She’s always been clear and the issue that she had to deal with last week regarding the relationship between the chair of the board of RTE and herself is of fundamental importance.

“I absolutely support her in her work and we are going to continue in our discussions regarding the future of how we fund RTE.

“But the events of the last few days don’t take away from an important truth that we will have to confront: that if we want good journalism, if we want public service broadcasting within our country, ultimately it does have to be paid for in some way.”

Last week, Ms Martin said she was informed about Ms Ni Raghallaigh’s involvement in the termination agreement of RTE’s former chief financial officer Richard Collins only on Thursday.

However, the RTE board disputed this saying Ms Ni Raghallaigh called the then-secretary general of the department, Katherine Licken, on October 10 last year to inform her that the remuneration committee had approved an exit agreement with Mr Collins.

Ms Martin said that Ms Licken remembers being told that the process had concluded, but she had no recollection of being informed about the termination payment.

RTE pay revelations
RTE Board chairwoman Siun Ni Raghallaigh and RTE director-general Kevin Bakhurst (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Donohoe said a large amount of information is transmitted between secretary generals and ministers on a daily basis.

“Minister Martin has indicated her willingness to appear in front of an Oireachtas tomorrow, I believe, to answer these and other questions, but I have absolute confidence in the work that she and her department does,” he added.

“This is a very complex, it’s a fast-moving issue and at all times, her and her department have looked to be clear and transparent in answering questions.

“Minister Martin and her department have my full support and our work and they will answer these and other questions.”

“The continuation of the story across many, many months is clearly not helpful to our efforts to regain public trust in RTE.

“Of course, it’s very difficult for the organisation itself and for the hundreds of people who work for RTE that are not playing any part in the public controversy that is unfolding.”