Molloy got €90,000 in board role now done for free
Ex-FAS chief received payments on technicality
Published 11/01/2010 | 05:00
DISGRACED former FAS chief Rody Molloy received more than €90,000 in fees for a job on a state board which his successor is doing for free.
The cash was paid to Mr Molloy by Forfas, the national policy advisory body for enterprise and science.
The disclosure has yet again raised serious questions over payments to Mr Molloy in the wake of his €1m-plus golden handshake.
Despite replacing Mr Molloy on the Forfas board, new FAS director general Paul O'Toole is not being paid any fees.
Similarly, senior executives from other state bodies, including the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, also sit on the board, but are not entitled to money for doing so.
Officials said Mr Molloy was able to collect the fees because of a technicality over the grouping of certain state agencies.
Tanaiste Mary Coughlan has since intervened to stop similar payments being made to Mr Molloy's successor. Mr Molloy was appointed to Forfas by then Enterprise Minister Mary Harney in 2000.
But he was forced to resign in November 2008 following his exit from FAS over revelations of lavish spending on foreign travel, accommodation and entertainment at the state training agency.
Records revealed Mr Molloy was paid €92,500 in fees during his eight years on the Forfas board. At the time of his resignation, annual board fees stood at €14,000.
Molloy said he had "no comment" to make on the payments when contacted by the Irish Independent and that it was a matter for Forfas.
It is the second time in the space of just three months that controversy has erupted over payments to Mr Molloy.
The Irish Independent revealed last October that his €1.02m pension top-up was signed off on despite objections by three Department of Finance pension experts that the deal fell outside of appropriate guidelines.
Another set of department guidelines state that "as a general rule" public servants should not receive extra pay for sitting on state boards.
The chief executives of state bodies are exempt from these guidelines, but are prohibited from claiming board fees from so-called "associated bodies".
The Department of Enterprise last night denied that there had been any breach of regulations in Mr Molloy's case.
It said that payments to Mr Molloy had been in line with Department of Finance guidelines.
A spokeswoman said that as FAS was not considered an "associated body" of Forfas, Mr Molloy had been entitled to the payments.
In contrast, senior officials from Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, and Science Foundation Ireland have not received similar payments as their agencies are "associated bodies" of Forfas.
However, in a statement the department acknowledged that when it came to appointing Mr Molloy's replacement, the Tanaiste decided that the fees should no longer be paid.
A spokeswoman for FAS said the agency was "not aware" what arrangements had been in place which allowed Mr Molloy to claim fees.
She confirmed that the new director general had not received any fees from Forfas.
The spokeswoman said Mr O'Toole's 'warrant of appointment', the document drawn up by the Department of Enterprise setting out the terms of his appointment to the board, did not allow for him to be paid fees by Forfas.
In contrast, according to Forfas, Mr Molloy's 'warrant of appointment' did allow for such payments to be made.
In a statement, Forfas said it was obliged to pay fees in line with the terms of a board member's 'warrant of appointment'.
"The warrant of appointment for Mr Molloy provided for a board fee at the rate approved by the Department of Finance for members of the boards of state bodies," the statement said.
"The warrant of appointment in respect of Paul O'Toole did not provide for the payment of a board fee."
Records obtained by the Irish Independent showed that members of the Forfas board have received almost €555,000 in fees and expenses payments since the beginning of 2005.
The records showed Mr Molloy received €50,991 in the four-year period before his resignation. Prior to that, he got payments of €11,061 in 2001 and payments of €10,157 each year between 2002 and 2004.