THE leaders of five major health unions have refused to divulge their salaries despite growing pressure for more public transparency.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, the Irish Pharmacy Union and the Irish Dental Association are maintaining a veil of secrecy over the remuneration packages paid to chief executives and general secretaries.
The IMPACT trade union declined to give the salary of its general secretary but said it was below the €171,313 figure of 2009.
The secrecy comes in the wake of fury by doctors in the Irish Medical Organisation trade union after it emerged that its former chief executive George McNeice (51) was earning nearly €500,000 and was due a potential defined benefit pension of nearly €25m before settling for an exit package of €10m.
Liam Doran, general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, who is among the most vocal critics of the Health Service Executive (HSE), replied "no comment" when quizzed on his own salary and pension benefits yesterday.
Martin Varley, secretary general of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, did not reply to queries about his level of remuneration.
Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the Irish Dental Association, said it did not publish the salary details of individual employees on the grounds that it was a private contractual matter.
"There are eight employees working in the association. The cost of wages and salaries in 2011 as confirmed in the annual report totalled €446,951.
"This figure includes salary and a modest performance-related bonus payment which is available to all employees.
A spokesman for Seamus Feely, Secretary General of the Irish Pharmacy Union, representing pharmacists, said the terms and conditions of all staff were confidential.
A spokesman for the IMPACT trade union, which represents thousands of health workers, would not give the exact earnings of its general secretary Shay Cody.