Sunday 26 October 2014

McNeice will give evidence in €75k sick pay hearing

Published 01/09/2014 | 02:30

George McNeice

Former doctors' union chief George McNeice, whose retirement package of nearly €10m caused uproar, is to give evidence at a €75,000 sick pay hearing this week.

Mr McNeice (53), who took early retirement from the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) nearly two years ago, will appear at the Rights Commissioner hearing into the sick pay claim by its Director of Communications, Maria Murphy.

Ms Murphy worked closely with Mr McNeice for more than 20 years, and has been on sick leave since May 2013.

She has claimed she is due around €75,000 in sick pay; however, the doctors' union disputes this.

She said she was paid 14 days' sick pay, but was entitled to six months on full pay with another six months on half pay, because of her senior position in the union.

The case, which is to be held in public, is to be fought by the union - despite the embarrassment involved - as it faces into talks with the Department of Health on doctors' fees for treating under-sixes for free.

A spokesman for the IMO would not comment yesterday.

A spokesman for Mr McNeice confirmed he would appear at the hearing, but stressed that his evidence would be factual and he would not be taking sides.

Mr McNeice's own contract, worked out in 2003, and the size of his salary - at around €500,000 at the time of his retirement - shocked members and led to calls for a full review of the running of the union going back well over a decade.

Review

Members of the 5,000-strong union are to be asked to ballot on whether the review, which would be costly, should go ahead. A ballot is to take place in the coming weeks.

The spokesman for Mr McNeice denied he was taking any legal action to get the review to go ahead. However, he would co-operate fully with any inquiry if it proceeds, he added.

Ms Murphy has not commented on the upcoming case.

Irish Independent

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