A HIGHLY paid hospital chief stays in a hotel for most of the week and receives a €10,000 annual allowance to subsidise his accommodation.
Bill Maher, who was granted a special pay deal of €195,000 two years ago, is chief executive of west north-west hospital group.
He secured the high salary when he moved from Dublin to Galway to take up the post in early 2012, overseeing several hospitals in the west and north-west.
He stays in the four-star Ardilaun Hotel in Galway during his working week, returning home to Carlow at the weekends.
A query by the Public Accounts Committee has now revealed that he is receiving €10,000 a year, on top of his huge salary, as a "detention allowance".
The written response from the Health Service Executive (HSE) says the allowance acknowledges that he will incur accommodation expenses being relocated. He does not directly claim expenses for his accommodation in Galway because it is already covered by the approved detention allowance, said the HSE.
A spokeswoman said Mr Maher, whose salary is €185,000 after Haddington Road cuts, got the allowance to offset the costs of moving to Galway.
"Where he chooses to stay in Galway is a private matter," she added.
A previous query was put to the HSE by the Irish Independent last August asking why he was staying in the Ardilaun Hotel.
The HSE was asked how much it had spent on his hotel accommodation and why he was not in rented accommodation, which would be cheaper.
The HSE did not make mention of the €10,000 allowance in its response.
It said: "Where Mr Maher chooses to stay in Galway is a private matter as the HSE does not pay expenses for Mr Maher when he is based in Galway."