Law Society head defends review of his own salary as 'routine' exercise
THE head of the body which regulates solicitors has defended a review of salaries at the organisation amid controversy over his own package.
Law Society director general Ken Murphy spoke of the probe which will examine whether his salary is appropriate and in line with international norms.
The review is being carried out by consultancy firm Towers Watson Ireland.
It comes after both the Mayo Solicitors' Bar Association and Southern Law Association asked the society to confirm if Mr Murphy was earning an annual salary of some €400,000.
The society has also been asked if its top three senior executives, Mr Murphy, deputy DG Mary Keane and director of regulation John Elliot, earned combined packages totalling €1.1m.
Mr Murphy said the review was being carried out as a matter of routine and that similar exercises had been carried out in 2005 and 2008.
And he insisted the review was not carried out on the back of complaints from members, whose subscriptions fund the body. The review was a "routine" exercise designed to determine if salaries were in line with similar organisations in other countries.
Details of the review come weeks after it emerged that George McNeice, the former chief executive of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), was contractually entitled to sums in the region of €20m in pension and other provisions.
But Mr Murphy said there were no concerns that salary levels and pension entitlements were in line with those in the IMO.
"It's independent," he said.
"(Such reviews) are a routine benchmarking exercise to ensure that remuneration rates among executives remain appropriate and among the market norm.
"This is an internal matter for the society. It will be completed when it's completed. In most private sector organisations, salaries are not published.
"All of this in global terms (is) revealed in audited accounts every year," he said.
The Law Society has never published details of individual staff members' pay.
The society represents some 12,000 solicitors, and has a staff of 207. Its most recent figures show salaries payments totalled €9.6m, an average of €46,855.