Saturday 21 October 2017

Ex-chief of doctors' union gets pension of €250,000 a year

George McNeice: former IMO chief got €9.7m package
George McNeice: former IMO chief got €9.7m package

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

THE full extent of the gold-plated retirement package for the former chief executive of the largest doctors' union shows he will receive staggered settlement payments of between €200,000 and €250,000 a year.

The €9.7m retirement package for George McNeice (52), including a €4.5m pension pot, plunged the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) into turmoil.

Based on a typical interest rate, the €4.5m would pay for a pension of around €140,000 a year, an accountancy expert said last night.

The IMO's annual accounts published yesterday showed Mr McNeice will receive €200,000 a year from 2016 to 2021, but this will rise to €250,000 from 2021 to 2032. The present value of the payments is €2.6m.

He will also get his termination payment of nearly €1.5m this month.

A spokesman for the union said that despite the settlement, the IMO continues to have reserves (members' funds) of more than €3.2m.

IMO treasurer Prof Sean Tierney said: "These accounts highlight the continued financial strength of the IMO.

"In addition to providing over €4m for the controversial settlement with the former chief executive, we had to take a write-down on the value of the IMO offices on Fitzwilliam Place in Dublin 2 of over €4m after the property crash.

"We can confirm that no members' subscriptions over the coming years will be required to fund the settlement with the former chief executive."

The extent of Mr McNeice's package shocked members, and an independent investigation has been promised by the union's council.

Cathal O Suillobhain, a Dublin GP who secured enough signatures to hold an emergency general meeting on the issue, said that while a meeting will go ahead next week, the motions put forward by the members cannot proceed.

Affairs

"The figures in this year's annual accounts underline the need for the investigation into the financial affairs of the union to be independent," he said.

The accounts show the IMO suffered a fall in membership by all grades of doctors last year, with subscription income dropping from €3.6m in 2011 to €3.3m in 2012. Membership dropped to 5,053 from 5,339.

The union has 34 employees on an average salary of €52,000. Mr McNeice had a defined benefit pension scheme, but all other employees are on a defined contribution scheme.

Irish Independent

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