Saturday 23 September 2017

Axed watchdog NCA pays out €250,000 to board members

MOVING ON: Ann Fitzgerald received €146,000 from the NCA last year, whose board members have included Celia Larkin
MOVING ON: Ann Fitzgerald received €146,000 from the NCA last year, whose board members have included Celia Larkin

Louise McBirde

The National Consumer Agency (NCA), which will be one of the first high-profile quangos to be axed by the Government, racked up a bill of more than a quarter of a million euro in chief executive pay, board fees and expenses last year, according to its annual report which was published last week.

The NCA, which is due to link up with the Competition Authority to create a super-quango, paid its former boss, Ann Fitzgerald, a salary of €145,212 in 2012, according to the report. She also received €962 in expenses that year. Fitzgerald left the NCA last October and she has since been replaced by Karen O'Leary, who left the Central Bank to join the NCA in 2010.

Fitzgerald's salary surpassed the total amount of fees and expenses paid to other board members in 2012. Between them, 11 other members of the board pocketed €136,609 in fees and expenses in 2012. Chairman Stephen Costello, who worked in Marks & Spencer in the early 1970s, took the biggest slice of this €136,609 pie. Costello was paid €20,520 in fees last year – and €3,855 in expenses.

This was more than Celia Larkin, the former partner of ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, was paid in her last full year on the NCA board. Larkin, who left the NCA board in 2010, was paid about €14,000 in fees and expenses in 2009. Another board member, Edward Shinnick, a senior lecturer in economics in University College Cork, was paid about €15,000 in fees and expenses last year.

A spokeswoman said its chief executive salary, as well as its fees and expenses, were "in line with government policy".

"In line with all public sector organisations, there have been cuts at all levels and the NCA is delivering on its mandate with less staff than before," added the NCA spokeswoman.

Irish Independent

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