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Dancing With The Stars producer Larry Bass resigns from RTÉ Board after eight weeks
21 Sep 2021 : News Desk
ShinAwil CEO Larry Bass
ShinAwil CEO Larry Bass has resigned from the board of RTÉ just eight weeks into his term.

The news comes following comments made in last weekend’s Sunday Times where Bass intimated that he was considering his position on the RTÉ Authority Board following their first board meeting.

The Dancing With The Stars producer told the publication that his appointment to the RTÉ Board had “upset a number of people,” and as such, was made feel unwelcome at the first sitting.

However, RTÉ has denied Bass’ claims, stating that their first Board meeting was carried out in a professional and respectful manner.

“There seems to be concerns about conflicts of interest,” Bass told the Sunday Times, but he felt “this can be dealt with by very strict protocols, but that is not good enough for some people in RTÉ.”  Bass confirmed that when a ShinAwil issue was being discussed by the RTÉ Board, he simply stepped out of the RTÉ Board Meeting for that discussion.  

This form of 'step out' protocol, despite concerns around it’s practice, has been used by other Irish boards where conflicts of interest arise and is understood to have been implemented during Bass' time serving on the Board of Screen Ireland.  During that time, Bass’ company ShinAwil could actively apply for and receive funding, which would then be awarded to his company by other members of the Board.

The decision to step down came the day after Bass had attended his first RTÉ Board meeting on Thursday, September 16th, where there was said to be a degree of discomfort amongst a number of board members about having an independent producer, who is also a supplier and recipient of funding from RTÉ, on the Authority Board.

In a statement, Bass confirmed he had tendered his resignation to Minister Catherine Martin last Friday, September 17th. “In the interests of my business, and that of RTÉ, I decided to resign. I have tendered my resignation to the Minister,” said Bass.

In a statement, the board’s chairperson, Moya Doherty said that she had been notified of Bass’ decision to step down from the board, and confirmed that "he has furnished his resignation to Minister Catherine Martin".

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Larry for his commitment, and for his ongoing significant contribution to the creative industries in Ireland, and to the independent production sector in particular," added Doherty.

In the Sunday Times article, the Department provided a statement saying that the process in which nominees put themselves forward to the board was a “matter for the joint Oireachtas committee itself. The minister engaged with the committee and the [RTÉ] chair on the board appointments and made her decision following these engagements. Consultation and engagement is an important part of all such processes.”

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