The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton has pledged to raise the issue of high salaries with RTÉ.

In the Dáil today, Sinn Féin communications spokesperson Brian Stanley asked if the Government had given any consideration to the expenditure of TV licence fee money by RTÉ and if legislative changes have been considered in order to establish a greater level of accountability.

"It is a substantial amount of money and if you just take wages alone, there is €3m a year to pay the ten leading presenters' wages," Mr Stanley said.

Mr Bruton said RTÉ submits a statement in respect of its use of public money paid to it as part of its annual report.

Mr Stanley said that back in 2017 RTÉ looked for a rise in the fee to €175 as it was in significant financial difficulties and certain measures were taken to address that.

He asked what conversations take place between the minister and the Director General of RTÉ as "some of the costs at the station would seem excessive".

Mr Stanley said: "We are fully in favour of good public service broadcasting and funding that. But if you look at the wages alone, wages of €495,000 a year, €400,000 a year, €389,000 a year.

"They are substantial for a station that is serving a population on the island of six-and-a-half million, roughly half of the population of London. And the BBC for example did propose a cap on pay."

Mr Bruton said that RTÉ is independent in relation to its operations and it is not day-to-day matters that the minister deals with.

He noted that the latest figures from RTÉ demonstrate a cut of 32% compared to fees earned in 2008 and he understands the Director General has indicated the intention to seek further reductions in the fees paid to top performers.

He said: "This is an operational matter for the company as they will respond that some of these top performers are key to generating advertising revenue.

"And from their point of view they generate important access to audiences and to commercial revenue. So there is a balance they have to strike in this."

Mr Stanley pressed the minister to watch spending at RTÉ and asked about better collection of the licence fee as there is a gap of €40m that is not being collected.

He asked if the Director General would introduce a wages cap similar to that brought in by the BBC.

The Minister concluded that: "There is a concern and public comment on very high wages of individual broadcasters. RTÉ has recognised that.

"It has indicated their existing record in bringing down those but also an intention to see that occur further. I will certainly raise the concern expressed by the deputy when I meet with RTÉ. I think there is a balance here to be struck."

He said there is a cross-Government report on the collection of the licence fee due in the first quarter of this year.