Sinead Desmond quits Ireland AM over alleged gender pay gap

by Clara Kelly

TV3 presenter Sinéad Desmond has quit Ireland AM after 11 years and pursued legal action against Virgin Media due to an alleged gender pay gap disagreement.

Desmond allegedly left her job at TV3 following disputes with bosses over the gender pay difference between Desmond and her male counterparts on the show, Mark Cagney and Alan Hughes.

Desmond has not been seen on Ireland AM since early October as she reportedly left her job seven weeks ago. Reports said that her male co-hosts earn noticeably more and when Desmond broached this with bosses, they refused to accommodate her demand for equal pay. When TV3 continued to refuse to give way on the issue, Desmond quit.

Desmond has fuelled increasing disappointment over the pay difference between women and men doing the same job. CSO figures show that there is currently a 14 per cent gender pay gap in Ireland. Desmond has not yet commented on if her departure was over the pay gap, however she has re-tweeted many #EqualPayDay messages recently.

A TV3 spokesperson confirmed Desmond’s decision to leave but did not explain her reason for leaving. The spokesperson also said: “We would like to thank Sinéad and wish her well for the future.”

Her decision to leave appeared to come as a surprise to viewers, who have been expressing concern over her absence on social media and in letters since she first disappeared from screens. Desmond’s colleagues were also thought to be unaware Desmond quit until it was reported.

TV3 insiders argued that the issue was more complex than a gender pay gap as Cagney has been at TV3 seventeen years and Hughes fifteen compared to Sinéad’s eleven.

Her decision to leave is now being pursued as a legal matter. A statement issued by solicitor Wendy Doyle on behalf of Desmond said: “This is now a legal matter between Sinead Desmond and Virgin Media.”

“My client Sinead Desmond has been trying to resolve this matter since the beginning of the year,” Doyle added.

Clara Kelly